Girls’ Lacrosse Head Injury Resulted in Lawsuit By High School Student

The family of a Florida teen has filed a negligence lawsuit against Orange County, the Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA) and a fellow student over a severe head injury that occurred while the teen was playing girls lacrosse for the school. 

Kendalle Holley was struck in the head by another player during a school lacrosse game in February 2015, and suffered a traumatic brain injury.

According to a recent report published by The Daily Mail, her parents filed a lawsuit earlier this month alleging that their daughter did not receive proper medical care after suffering the head injury, potentially causing worse brain damage.

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Despite showing signs of a concussion from the lacrosse injury, Holley was reportedly put back in the game. The fourteen year old girl later became ill, vomited, and collapsed in the school parking lot, according to claims raised in the complaint.

As a result of the lacrosse head injury, Holley has reportedly suffered personality changes and other signs of long-term brain trauma.

FHSAA guidelines require students be removed from play if they appear to have suffered a concussion. However, Holley’s coach indicated that there were no signs she had suffered any significant injury or concussion at the time.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result from a severe blow to the head, causing loss of consciousness, skull fracture, internal bleeding or a combination of the three. Head trauma is one of the leading causes of death and permanent disability worldwide, with 1.4 to 1.7 million people suffering a brain injury each year.

According to a CDC study published a year ago on sports-related TBIs treated in emergency rooms from 2001 to 2012, approximately 3.42 million ER visits for a sports related TBI occurred during that time, with significant increase in rates in both males and females, regardless of age. The rates of TBI increased 45% in males ages 5 to 9 years old, and up to 140% in males ages 10 to 14 years old.

Among females, the rates of TBI increased 25% in patients ages 0 to 4 years old and 211% in patients ages 15 to 19 years old, according to the CDC report. Every year, males had about twice the rates of females.

The findings are similar to those of a study published in 2014, which found an increase in TBIs by 30% between 2006 and 2010. Researchers said the increase in ER visits for head trauma was eightfold overall.

Approximately 70% of sports related TBIs reported among persons ages 0 to 19. The largest number of TBIs among males occurred while bicycling, playing football and basketball. Among females the largest number of TBIs occurred while bicycling, during playground activities and while horseback riding.


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