While the start of football season brings much excitement to the millions of fans across the U.S. and the hundreds of thousands of football players, it also comes at a cost: injuries, both to fans and players, occur across American football stadiums at high rates each year. Already, during NFL opening day this past week, a fan was killed in San Francisco and another two individuals were injured in Indianapolis.
In San Francisco, at the 49er’s game against the Packers, Kevin Hayes, 32, and his brother were walking along an elevated walkway outside of Candlestick Park, the 49er’s stadium, above four lanes of traffic. The walkway connects the stadium to a street. Hayes apparently fell off the walkway, and despite efforts by paramedics arriving to the scene of the accident, he was declared dead from his injuries. Witnesses report that Hayes appeared to be intoxicated before he took the fatal plunge off the walkway.
Also on this opening Sunday, a railing collapsed at the Indianapolis stadium during a game against the Colts and the Raiders. Two fans that were apparently leaning on the barrier were injured, with one taken away by stretcher and another by wheelchair.
These incidences are far from alone: statistics show that since 2003, there have been more than two dozen cases of fans falling in U.S. stadiums across the nation. This includes another fatality that occurred at Candlestick Park in which a fan fatally jumped to his death after apparently misjudging where he would land.
Fans are not the only ones injured during football games. Football players, both NFL and state, are injured by the hundreds of thousands each year. The National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research estimates that roughly 300,000 football related concussions occur each year. Studies show that on average over 250 NFL football players receive concussions each year while playing their sport. Further, 10-15% of high school football players will receive a concussion each year- and few receive proper post-concussion treatment.
Recently, a lawsuit brought by thousands of NFL players against the NFL over concussion related issues made national headlines. After much litigation, the NFL reached a settlement that involves all former players, not just those made party to the suit. The total settlement amount was $765 million, plus the cost of attorney’s fees for the players who brought the suit. The settlement uses a three tier ladder for payments connected with player’s diagnosis. Additionally, it devotes $10 million to medical research and maximum of $75 million will go towards medical exams. The settlement cannot be considered an admission by the NFL of liability or that the player’s injuries were caused by football. Events are still unfolding after news of the settlement, but it is anticipated many more lawsuits involving player concussion and injuries will follow.
Concussions are not the only injury football player’s face. According to the National Athletic Trainer’s Institute, over 400,000 injuries are seen each year in youth football alone. Football at the collegiate level produces more catastrophic injuries that any other sport. Most injuries occur while tackling, and specifically while tackling head down. Besides concussions, which are often the most serious, other common injuries include: cervical cord injuries; knee injuries, particularly to the anterior or posterior cruciate ligament (ACL/PCL); ankle sprains; shoulder injuries; back injuries, particularly to the lower back; and heat injuries, especially in youth football players. These injuries occur at alarming rates and can have lifelong consequences for the American football player of any age.
At the Giddens Law Firm, we have experience representing both injured football fans and injured football players, as well as those injured playing a variety of other sports. Our skilled team of Mississippi personal injury attorneys can fight for you to receive the compensation you deserve due to your sport’s related injury. With the recent NFL litigation and settlement, now is the time to take action if you have been injured while playing a sport. Call us today at (601) 355-2022 to receive a free analysis of your case.