During an off-season drill in 2014, thirteen-year-old Logon Wyatt from Giddings Middle School suffered a serious concussion. The injury occurred when a larger student athlete lunged himself into Wyatt’s chest. Unconscious from the brute force, Wyatt fell and injured his head on the tiled floor.
Since the injury, Wyatt has spent the majority of his time at Dell Children’s Hospital undergoing physical therapy. According to his mother, Wyatt experiences great difficulty seeing and feels dizzy and nausea almost constantly. Short car rides are now sufficient to make Wyatt throw up from the nausea. Before the injury, Wyatt was a straight-A student, according to his mother. Now Wyatt is having difficulty passing the 9th grade.
Jessica Ryburn, his mother, filed a lawsuit against the Giddings Independent School District. The lawsuit made the accusation that other student athletes were similarly injured in the past. However, this accusation has proven difficult to verify because the school district doesn’t have records of all sports injuries. The state does not require school districts to track all student athlete sports injuries. Due to the lack of records, the Giddings Independent School District refused to respond to Ryburn’s lawsuit.
About 200,000 children suffer serious head injuries from playing sports each year, according to the study conducted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, despite this, statistics and information about student athlete injuries in Texas are difficult to come by.
The UIL monitors and regulates middle school and high school sports in the public schools of Texas. The UIL attempts to collect as much injury data as possible, but it still has a long way to go before its records can be considered comprehensive of all student athlete injuries in Texas. The only injuries required to be reported to the UIL are those associated with high school football. However, not all high schools are required to report even these injuries.
In light of Ryburn’s lawsuit, the medical community is currently striving to make changes to agency’s student athlete injury reporting system. In fact, medical professionals like Dr. Martha Python have been recommending these changes to the UIL and Texas school districts for many years. Not only will the resulting data prove useful to medical professionals, but it will also be of use to coaches and parents.