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An interesting lawsuit has surfaced in Western Pennsylvania, one that could have reverberations on a local and national level. According to a story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Zachary Alt, a former high school football player at Highlands High School in Natrona Heights, is suing the school for, the lawsuit clams, allowing him to play while exhibiting concussion-related symptoms. In addition to Highlands football coach Sam Albert, the high school principal, assistant principal and athletic trainer are accused of "deliberate disregard" for Alt's welfare. Alt's suit claims the school allowed him to continue playing in a game despite displaying his exhibiting concussion-like symptoms. Alt, a former fullback, was eventually diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. To get a better grasp on the story, I encourage you to read the entire article. And if you really feel like delving into things, you can read the entire complaint. The story is important on several levels. First, it's close enough to home that you can expect local coaches and officials will take notice. Second, it reinforces the amount of accountability being placed on coaches and trainers nowadays to take extra precautions with head injuries. Or course, it's worth nothing the oversight alleged in the suit happened in 2007 -- a few years before the issue of concussions in sports hit the mainstream. Pennsylvania has proposed laws to try to prevent these sort of traumatic injuries, and more government legislation could be on the way. I don't doubt that there are some folks out there who think our society has become hypersensative to head injuries, but it's been my experience that every coach/athletic director/trainer that I've talked to from this area has shown the proper amount of cautiousness and concern when it comes to dealing with concussions. Still, brain injuries are tricky business. It's not like spraining an ankle or breaking a bone. Oftentimes, concussion symptoms are difficult to detect. That means more pressure is being placed on coaches and trainers to be vigilant when it comes to diagnosing concussions. Once again, from those who I've talked to, every effort is being made to do that. Still, the issue isn't going away anytime soon. And it wouldn't surprise me if we see more of these sort of suits come to light around the country going forward.

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