Traumatic Brain Injury Claims the Life of High School Football Player

A 16-year-old Georgia high school football player died on September 30, two days after collapsing on the sidelines during a game at Pike County High School in Zebulon. Although there were no immediate signs or cause of his collapse, a recently released coroner’s report shows that the teen died of cardiac arrest as a result of traumatic brain injury.

Officials stopped play in the third quarter of the football game against Peach County High School due to an injured player, according to Pike County Coroner Terrell Moody’s timeline. Thomas was able to walk off the field with assistance, but complained of numbness in his leg.

His condition deteriorated, and he left by ambulance and was later transported by helicopter to a hospital in Atlanta. The teen underwent multiple surgeries and other live-saving treatments over the next two days before being declared dead.

Moody also mentioned that Thomas was healthy and had no preexisting medical conditions that would have made him more susceptible to injuries on the field, or during any treatments at the hospital. Regarding the teen’s fatal brain injury, the coroner said it was ultimately an ‘anomaly’ that required ‘the perfect amount of pressure on the perfect spot at the perfect angle.’

Trying to make sense of what happened

In a statement, the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) said they reviewed the incident and determined that Thomas was wearing a new 2018 Riddell helmet, the highest-rated helmet the company manufactures. They said there was no indication of negligence by anyone associated with the school and that “coaches had taken every precaution to prepare for potential injuries and went beyond the required standards when working within the concussion protocol.”

In tragic cases like Dylan Thomas, some injuries are the results of freak accidents. However, his death is also unfortunately part of a spate of recent injuries in high school, college, and professional football. This issue has sparked a debate over whether or not current safety regulations are enough. And many parents are questioning whether young children and teens should be allowed to play football at all.

One major concern about repeated head injury or trauma is CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE is a degenerative brain disease found in people who sustain repeated head trauma, like football players or boxers. The condition is incurable, and one study showed 110 out of 111 former NFL players’ brains showed signs of CTE. The chances of CTE increase the longer an athlete plays, but there is also a 21% chance that a high school player could also develop the disease.

Crandall & Pera Law provide skilled and compassionate representation when your child has suffered a brain injury. We can answer your questions, address your concerns, and protect the rights of you and your family. Please call 877-686-8879, or fill out our contact form, and schedule your free consultation with an experienced brain injury lawyer at one of our offices in Ohio or Kentucky.