Abby Wambach is the reigning 2012 FIFA World Player of The Year. She is idolized by young female soccer players all over the world. Wambach currently plays for the National Women’s Soccer League on the Western New York Flash, and on April 20th, the league and Wambach herself set a very bad example on how to handle concussions.
Concussions are not just a hot topic in the media, they are serious a medical condition that can have very lasting and permanent disabling effects. Toward the end of that evening’s game, Wambach was hit in the head by a ball going approximately 50-60 miles per hour that was kicked by a teammate who was only six yards away.
Wambach immediately fell to the ground, clutched her head, could not get up for 31 seconds, and then slowly stumbled to a standing position. When this happened, a trainer instantly jumped up to run to Wambach’s side on the field, but was stopped by an official. Wambach stayed in the game for the next four minutes. She also handled the last play, in which she headed the ball.
Over the next several days Wambach, the coach, and the league all downplayed the incident. They said she was free of all concussion symptoms, that she was just staying out as a pre-cautionary measure, and that she would be back on the field in no time. Eleven days later the league finally came forward to admit that it made a mistake. Neil Buethe, a spokesperson for the U.S. Soccer Federation stated, “this is a situation that wasn’t handled as we should have handled it. We admit that. We’re going to refocus to make sure referees, players, coaches, everyone has a better grasp going forward of how to handle concussions.”
So why does it matter so much how the league handled this? Multiple research studies have shown that females suffer concussions at higher rates than males and that they also recover at slower rates. This data is collected when both men and women are playing the same sport, and holds particularly true for soccer. Studies also show that women are more willing to pay through pain and this is often because they do not want to let down their teammates.
The National Women’s Soccer League’s stands are flooded with young girls who adore the players on the field. They need to know that concussions won’t just keep you off the field for a week or two. They could take you out of the sport forever, or even cause significant and irreparable damages their brain. Staying in the game after a concussion is just never worth the win. If you, your son or daughter, or someone you care about has suffered a sports related concussion or injury as the result of a coach or league’s failure to properly handle the situation, you may be entitled to compensation. By allowing a Northern Virginia personal injury attorney to review your case, you can learn more about your rights, how you can hold negligent parties liable for their actions, and the ways in which our firm can help. Contact Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. today.