Judge dismisses concussions lawsuit against Illinois athletic association

October 28, 2015 / FootballSports Medicine
An Illinois circuit court judge on Tuesday dismissed a class action lawsuit against the state’s athletic association that sought new guidelines on how schools protect athletes from concussions.

IHSAThe lawsuit, filed on behalf of former high school football player Alex Pierscionek, requested that the Illinois High School Association create policies that would place medical professionals at all football games and on-call for football practices. It also called on new guidelines for screening players for brain injuries and concussion education for teachers.

According to a news release from the IHSA, Judge LeRoy Martin supported the association’s safety record, writing in his ruling “In fact, it’s clear to this court that IHSA has acted to protect student-athletes in this State.”

The IHSA launched its “Play Smart. Play Hard.” campaign last May to help spotlight the numerous steps that the association and its membership have made in the name of safety across all sports, including football. In conjunction, the Illinois Advisory Council on Player Safety, a new committee consisting of Certified Athletic Trainers, student-athletes, coaches, officials, parents and other invested constituents also made its debut. The group works in conjunction with the IHSA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, reviewing current IHSA programs and offering new recommendations.

Last week, Bogan High School (Ill.) football player Andre Smith died after sustaining an injury during a game. An autopsy concluded that Smith died from accidental blunt force injuries to the head, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Smith was the seventh high school football player this season to die after suffering an on-field injury, and the first in Illinois since 2012, according to the news release.

“This ruling energizes our efforts to continue to make all sports safer for high school student-athletes in Illinois,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “The tragedy that occurred with Andre Smith, and situations like it, are what drive us and those who work to make all levels of sports safer for the participants.”

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