Former Professional Football Player Brings Medical Malpractice Suit for Improper Attention to Head Injury

The sports pages continue to be filled with articles about athletes who suffer concussions and other head injuries. A hot topic this week is the National Hockey Leagues consideration of imposing a rule effective this season – as opposed to next season) – to prohibit shots to players heads from behind or blindside (considering that such contact bears no relation to the skills of playing the game on an individual or team wide basis it seems almost incomprehensible that such hits are presently legal so long as there is no finding of intent to injure).

Now, in what has been reported to be a first in the recent years since concussions in football players became a matter of public scrutiny, a former professional football player has filed a lawsuit for medical malpractice against a team doctor who he claims mistreated his concussion two years ago, resulting in permanent injury.

Clay Rush, a kicker for the Colorado Crush of the Arena Football League, sustained a series of a hit to the head over several games in 2008. He has sued team physician, Dr. Saurabh Mangalik, and his employer, HealthONE Clinic Services. The dispute seems to boil down to who allowed Rush to play in games before he was ready to resume physical activity the team doctor or team employees such as a coach or trainer.

This issue is critical because workers compensation law prohibits lawsuits against a workers employer or co-employees. The team doctor and his employer, however, are not considered employees of the team, they are independent contractors. Other cases alleging mistreatment of concussions, in November, La Salle University agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle a malpractice lawsuit brought by a player severely injured by a concussion that he claimed had been mistreated by university medical staff.

In 2000, the former N.F.L. running back Merril Hoge received a $1.55 million jury verdict in a lawsuit against a former Chicago Bear’s team physician. The case was later settled under confidential terms. Concussions in the National Football League has been the subject of Congressional hearings. Cerebral concussions in youth athletes are also of increasing concern.

The lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience handling personal injury claims including those involving medical malpractice. For 50 years spanning 3 generations, we have obtained results for satisfied clients. We have offices in Manhattan and Long Island, handling cases in New York City, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and surrounding areas. To learn more, watch our videos.

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