PIAA Lawsuit Not Dismissed

October 10, 2017

A Pennsylvania state court will not dismiss a lawsuit by high school athletes that seeks to hold the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) legally responsible for concussions the three suffered. According to Penn Live, the three athletes--one softball player and two football players--allege that their respective coaches and athletic trainers did not properly respond when they suffered concussions.

The athletes and their parents accuse the PIAA of a "failure to prioritize a safety culture educating student athletes on the importance of warning signs and the severity of concussion conditions,” as well as failing to train its staff on how to recognize and deal with concussions.

In response, the PIAA argued that all the athletes knew about and "assumed the risk of potential injury," before choosing to play contact sports. It argued that the issue should not be dealt with in court, but by the state legislature putting sports safety measures into effect.

"The PIAA maintains that to conclude otherwise would place a burden on PIAA to stop play and perform extensive testing each time a blow to the head occurs," Judge Robert Simpson, who refused the PIAA's request, said. "The PIAA argues this absurd result would severely impair, if not destroy, many interscholastic sports."

Simpson said it “would be premature at this stage” to dismiss the lawsuit simply because contact sports have an inherent risk of concussions, or because of the PIAA's arguments regarding its efforts to safeguard its athletes.

"At this stage...it is unclear whether the imposition of a duty upon the PIAA in that regard is, in fact, in the public interest," Simpson wrote.

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