Playing sports can be beneficial to the body. It is a way to engage with others through teamwork, and promote overall health and well-being.
Athletics, however, do not come without risk of injury to the spine. Spinal injuries are tragic events that take place in all types of physical sports including football, baseball, basketball, soccer, and gymnastics.
Since spinal injuries can shake up an athlete’s way of living, our Corpus Christi spinal injury attorneys will walk you through how sports-related spinal injuries happen, who’s responsible, and what you can do.
Sports with high rates of spinal injuries
According to the 2020 recent trends by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), sports and recreational activities ranked 4th in the nation for spinal cord injury.
It’s also been noted that 10.1% of all spinal injuries are related to sports accidents. The sport that causes the most spinal cord injuries is diving. Other sports with high rates of injury to the spine include:
- Winter sports (sledding, ice hockey, and snow-tubing, for example)
- Horseback riding
The average age for spinal injuries increased from 29 years during the 1970s to 43 since 2015, according to NSCISC’s spinal cord facts and figures. Spinal injuries are seen more in men, with 78% of new cases being reported.
How do spinal cord injuries happen in sports?
If you receive a blow to the neck or back during sports play, you can sustain a traumatic cervical spinal cord injury.
Depending on the level of force and the impact, your bone or vertebrae can be dislocated, fractured, crushed, or compressed.
Since Texas is well-known for its sports, below are some examples to show how athletes receive spinal cord injuries while playing sports.
- Football tackle. In 2019, the Houston Chronicle reported a 15-year-old Fort Bend Independent School District football player suffered a spinal cord injury during a game. He was making a tackle that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down.
- Basketball collision. The Dallas News reported that on October 24, 2020, a Baylor basketball player suffered a spinal cord injury during practice. She collided with a teammate, resulting in temporary paralysis from the hips down. ESPN announced the Baylor player returned to the court 5 weeks after the spinal injury.
- Bike fall. In November 2020, the Houston Chronicle reported a spinal surgeon suffered a spinal cord injury after flipping over his handlebars while bicycling. The neck injury left him paralyzed.
Common signs of spinal injuries
The most common symptoms of spinal injuries include:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Tingling in the arms, legs or body
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling or bruising on the spine
To detect the above signs and be diagnosed, you’d need the following tests or medical exams:
- CT or CAT scan
For treatment, you may receive a collar or brace. The brace should be worn up to six to eight weeks.
Your spinal injury may also require surgery to remove the tissue or bones that are pushing down on your spinal cord, causing you pain.
If you’re looking to file a spinal cord injury claim, the assistance of a Corpus Christi spinal cord injury attorney is your best bet in enforcing your rights.
Filing a spinal cord injury claim due to a sports accident
Your legal options for a spinal cord injury claim from playing sports starts with proving someone didn’t make your safety a priority. Or faulty and defective design of sports equipment could be to blame.
You may be able to hold the following people responsible for your spinal injury:
- Sports equipment manufacturer
Before attempting to sue for your spinal injuries, you have to reach what’s called maximum medical improvement or MMI. Doctors use MMI to determine the full extent of the injury, including any life-long impacts it might have on you. During medical treatment, if the doctor decides that you have reached the maximum level of physical recovery for your spinal injury, then you’ve reached MMI.
Filing your injury lawsuit before you reach MMI could reduce the amount of your compensation, because your doctor hasn’t yet determined the full extent of your injury. Your doctor is the only one that can decide when you’ve reached MMI.
Contact a skilled Corpus Christi spinal injury attorney for your sports-related accident
If you’re the victim of a spinal cord injury due to a sports-related accident, you need a competent and qualified legal team by your side. Speak with the Corpus Christi spinal injury attorneys at The Burkett Law Firm or contact us online for a free consultation. We’ll explain your legal rights and provide some relief during your spinal injury recovery while we do the heavy lifting in building a strong case for you.