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FIFA and U.S. soccer organizations sued by players

Chicago sports enthusiasts may be interested to learn that former and current soccer players recently filed a suit against FIFA and other U.S. soccer associations for failing to maintain proper guidelines and procedures when detecting and treating concussions. The class action lawsuit does not seek any monetary damages aside from a request for attorneys' fees and costs. Instead, the plaintiffs in the case are hoping to change the rules of how the game is played as well as how potential head injuries are handled.

Included among the defendants named in the lawsuit are U.S. Youth Soccer and American Youth Soccer, which have approximately three million children and teenagers playing on their teams. The plaintiffs have said that these associations need to update their policies and rules to protect soccer players and help them to prevent concussions. One proposed measure would change the rules for heading a soccer ball by children under the age of 17. Another rule change would allow additional substitutions in order for players to obtain medical evaluations to determine whether they suffered a concussion.

The attorney representing the plaintiffs stated that despite multiple updates of its guidelines since the initial international conference on concussions, FIFA has yet to implement changes that are in line with those called for by the medical community. The plaintiffs also say that FIFA's guidelines essentially require soccer players to self-diagnose a concussion or, alternately, be diagnosed by a referee. The proposed rule changes would reduce the power of referees to make these diagnoses and would instead call on the involvement of medical professionals.

Medical professionals are held to a high standard of care, and those who make a misdiagnosis of a patient's condition may potentially be held liable for malpractice. If a person has suffered a serious brain injury due to a delayed or wrong diagnosis, he or she may want to speak with an attorney about the viability of filing a suit.

Source: Forbes, "Class Action Concussion Lawsuit Filed Against FIFA And U.S. Soccer Associations", Darren Heitner, August 27, 2014

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