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Jury Verdict against Helmet Manufacturer Riddell for High School Player's Brain Injuries

May 06, 2013

The jury in a football helmet lawsuit has awarded a teenager $11.5 million for brain injuries suffered while wearing a Riddell® football helmet. The decision may be a harbinger of the outcome of a pending lawsuit filed by thousands of former NFL players against the helmet manufacturer.

Despite the size of the jury verdict, a Riddell spokesman told USA Today that it considers the verdict as a positive sign because the Colorado jury did not find that the helmets were defective. The company indicated after the jury verdict that it believes it markets the most protective and safest football headgear for high school, college and professional athletes.

The jury based its finding of negligence by Riddell® on the failure of the helmet manufacturer to warn consumers of the risk of concussions when using the headgear and playing football. The teenager also named administrators and coaches from his high school as defendants, and the jury only assigned 27 percent of the fault to the football equipment manufacturer. Apparently, the jury was influenced by evidence that coaches did not immediately take the high school football player to the hospital after he suffered a concussion. At trial, evidence was produced that the delay contributed to the high school athlete suffering significant brain damage resulting in the left side of his body being paralyzed.

Riddell and other manufacturers of protective headgear face lawsuits throughout the U.S. for concussion injuries and brain injuries suffered in collisions between football players. If a helmet is found to be unsafe in its design or to be the product of faulty manufacturing, the maker of the football safety equipment may be liable for defects in the helmets. Companies that manufacture helmets also have a legal obligation to market their products truthfully and warn consumers of hazards associated with the product.

Similarly, school districts, teachers and administrators may be liable when head injuries and other sports-related injuries are not handled in a prudent manner. If a football player suffers a concussion during practice or a game, the player should receive immediate medical attention rather than be encouraged to continue playing. One of the biggest risks of football-related concussion injuries involves a player suffering a second concussion when the symptoms have not completely disappeared from a prior concussion.  There is a growing body of evidence that the risk associated with concussions suffered by football players has been underestimated and mishandled for decades.

At Montlick & Associates, our Georgia traumatic brain injury attorneys are available to provide effective legal representation to personal injury victims throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast.  Call 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit online at and use the firm’s Free 24-hour Live Online Chat or Free Case Evaluation Form.

Category: Personal Injury

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.