Submitted by Mr. Gregory B. Bonds1*, William W. Edwards2 PhD*, Brandon D. Spradley3 EdD*, Theodore Phillips4 PhD*
1* Associate Athletic Director for Internal Affairs at Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville Alabama
2* Chair of Sports & Exercise Science at the United States Sports Academy , Daphne Alabama
3* Director of Continuing Education & Executive Director of the Alumni Association, United States Sports Academy, Daphne Alabama
4* Former faculty member of the United States Sports Academy, Daphne Alabama
Mr. Gregory Bonds is the Associate Athletic Director for Internal Affairs at Jacksonville State University and a doctoral student at the United States Sports Academy.
Concussion injuries impact approximately 1.7 million Americans annually. By design, sports such as football, ice hockey, and soccer demand physical contact often resulting in powerful blows to the head. The impact on concussion management affects participant safety, well-being, and awareness of diagnosis, treatment, playing rules, equipment, education, and technology. Previous research states that participating high school athletes suffer over 100,000 concussions annually. In 2009, a study sponsored by the National Football League (NFL) announced that retired players between the ages of 30 and 49 were affected by dementia-type diagnosis 20 times greater than fellow citizens in the same age bracket. Furthermore, retired players above the age of 50 were affected by dementia-type diagnosis at a rate five times higher than the national average of 1.2%. The culmination of concussion injuries from youth sports to retired professional athletes has accelerated unprecedented litigation, regulation, and legislative activities. The heightened awareness on the dangers and consequences of concussion trauma has caused sports governing bodies, state legislatures, and federal congressional intervention to enact regulation and legislation to promote the safety of sports participants. Based on recent legal activity to implement concussion and return-to-play guidelines, sports concussion awareness has risen to national attention. Lawsuits may be counterproductive if mounting litigation, legal and liability costs outpace protective regulation and equipment able to withstand powerful force application. The purpose is to review and analyze the impact of litigation, regulation, and legislation on sport concussion management.