The Risks of Using Defective Sports Equipment

A previous blog post discussed lawsuits filed by professional hockey players who suffered concussions. The lawsuits claimed that the National Hockey League failed to take steps to protect the players from harm which resulted in the players sustaining varied degrees of concussion injuries. In additional to league rules, defective sports equipment can also play a role in athlete injuries inside and outside of the NHL.

A Chicago injury attorney understands that there are inherent risks involved in sports. This includes the possibility of being injured or killed due to the nature of the games in which individuals choose to participate. However, when the sports equipment fails and that failure causes players substantial injury, the manufacturers of the unsafe equipment may be liable for any damages the injured players endure.

Football helmets

Football helmets are essential to the safety of players of any age. These helmets are designed with a hard plastic outer shell, a cage which covers the face, and a chin strap to keep it in place. There is also usually an inner front pad made of a softer material that serves to absorb much of the shock that players receive when they are hit. A Chicago injury attorney knows that when these helmets fail, players can be left with severe, life-altering brain injuries.

One common sports equipment failure includes the use of an improper or ineffective material for the front pad. The Expert Institute reports that many manufacturers once used urethane to create the front pad. However, this material has been shown to be ineffective in reducing energy increases when the urethane heats up during play. Many manufacturers have switched to a much more effective material, vinyl nitrate, for use in their front pads. This material better absorbs the energy that would otherwise cause the brain to shake around inside the skull, which can result in concussion, subdural hematoma, or death.

Baseball bats

USA Today reports that two baseball bat accidents left a spectator and a coach injured in major league games. Splinters from a maple bat hit the spectator in the stands as he watched the game. He required jaw surgery to repair the damage to his face. The other accident, also caused by splinters from a maple bat, left the coach with no feeling in his upper lip.

Maple bats have long been known in the baseball community as much more likely than other woods to contain defects. However, their durability compared to other woods is superior, so many coaches and players choose to use maple despite their high defect rate and potential for exploding during use.

Sports enthusiasts who have been injured by defective equipment should turn to a Chicago injury attorney for assistance with their claims.