Duty of care and concussions in children’s sports

PUBLISHED 27 Sep 2016

Concussions continue to obtain more and more media coverage due to a high number of cases in America and around the world. Yet what many people don't know is that our children are more likely to be afflicted by sports-related concussions than adults.

As sports clubs have a duty of care to the children who play for them, if your child suffers an injury, you can seek injury compensation to cover medical bills.

What are the rates of injury for Australian sports?

Research from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that approximately 36,000 people aged 15 and over were hospitalised due to an injury sustained while playing sport in 2011. This amounted to 79,000 days in hospital.

Furthermore, 61 per cent of estimated injury cases did not have an activity code. What this means is that incidents that could have been caused by sports injuries were not counted as such and thus the actual total could be much higher.

So what are the most dangerous sports for people to be involved? According to the report, wheeled motorsports have the highest injury rate based on participation, followed by roller sports. Of the regular sports covered, Australian football and rugby (league and union) have the highest rates.

What's worse, a study from UCLA found that parents use outdated advice when dealing with their child's concussion. For instance, 3 in 4 parents will wake their child throughout the night, which can impair the child's brain from recovering.

What can you do if your child is injured?

Beyond the obvious medical attention, depending on the circumstances, you could seek compensation or any medical costs. Under Australian law, sporting clubs, associations and schools have a duty of care to ensure the health and wellbeing of the children they are responsible for.

However, there are limitations to this interpretation, which are set out in precedents such as McHale v Watson. Sporting clubs need to take into account the age, intelligence and experience of the child when managing safety and injury prevention.

If you would like to know more about liability, sporting injuries and sports clubs, make sure you talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer in Sydney today.

At Gerard Malouf and Partners Compensation, Medical negligence and Will dispute lawyers, we offer a no win no fee guarantee, which can ensure money is not an obstacle to you making a claim.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.