College Sports Injury Attorneys

South Carolina College Sports Injury Attorneys

Going head-to-head against a college or university in a sports injury lawsuit is never a good game plan, but with the Steinberg Law Firm on your team, you won’t have to. 

For a free case review, give us a call at 843-720-2800.

When you signed up to play sports in college, you knew that your job was to train hard and to bring your best. And, if you are like most people, you also assumed that the college, your coaches, and other support staff would do everything possible to keep you safe. But what happens when that turns out not to be the case? 

A sports injury can not only jeopardize your future in the sport but may also leave you with long-term health conditions that can affect other aspects of your life. At the Steinberg Law Firm, our college sports injury lawyers help injured athletes hold those who caused their injuries accountable while connecting our clients with financial compensation for everything they’ve been through and the impact their injuries will have on their future. 

Common Types of College Athletic Injuries

College athletes participate in a variety of sports, each with its own risk profile. There are some injuries that tend to be more common across many sports. Below is a list of some of the most common college sports injuries.

Sprains and Strains: These are injuries to the ligaments and tendons, respectively, and are common in most sports. Athletes can sprain a ligament through the rapid change of direction, falls, or impacts common in many sports.

Stress Fractures: These are small cracks in bones that happen over time due to repetitive motion or overuse. They are common in running sports, like track and field or cross country.

Concussions: Concussions are brain injuries caused by a blow to the head or body that causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth. They are particularly common in contact sports like American football and soccer.

Knee Injuries: These can include a variety of specific injuries, like tears of the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) or MCL (medial collateral ligament), meniscus tears, or patellar tendinitis. These are common in sports with a lot of running, jumping, or other types of physical contact.

Shoulder Injuries: These can include dislocations, sprains, strains, and tears. They’re common in sports that require overhead motions, like baseball, basketball, volleyball, and swimming.

Ankle Injuries: These often involve sprains and fractures and are common in sports that involve running, jumping, and rapid change of direction, like basketball, soccer, and track.

What Are the Most Dangerous College Sports?

Almost any sport presents some risk of injury; however, certainly, there are some sports that are more dangerous than others. It is also important to consider the severity of a sports injury, for example, basketball has a very high injury rate, but most basketball injuries are minor. On the other hand, fewer football players are hurt each year, but those who are hurt often suffer very serious injuries

Taking both of these considerations into account, below is a list of the most dangerous college sports.

  • Men’s football,
  • Wrestling,
  • Men’s and women’s cheerleading,
  • Men’s and Women’s gymnastics, 
  • Women’s soccer,
  • Men’s rowing, and
  • Women’s equestrian.

Of course, when it comes to athlete safety, it isn’t so much about the sport as it is about the precautions schools and coaches take to prevent injury on and off the field. 

Who Is Responsible for a College Sports Injury?

As an injured college athlete, it’s important to understand where responsibility may lie for your injuries. Responsibility can sometimes rest on multiple parties, including the college or university, a coach, other players, or equipment manufacturers, among others. However, it’s important to keep in mind that, in many cases, participation in sports is considered a voluntary activity, and athletes who choose to play may assume the inherent risks of the game. Read on to learn more about the various parties that may be financially responsible for a college athlete’s sports injury.

Colleges and Universities

One entity that may be held responsible is the college or university. Educational institutions have a duty of care towards their students, which includes maintaining safe facilities and providing adequately trained staff. If your injury was caused by a faulty piece of equipment that wasn’t adequately maintained or due to inadequate supervision or coaching, the school might be liable. Similarly, if the school did not provide appropriate medical care or failed to follow return-to-play protocols after an injury, it could potentially be held responsible.


Coaches also play a crucial role in athlete safety. They are expected to teach the correct techniques to ensure athletes are physically ready for the activities and to not push injured athletes beyond their limits. If a coach has acted negligently in any of these ways, they could potentially be held liable for resulting injuries. In many cases, when a coach is responsible for a player’s injuries, the college is held vicariously liable. This is because the coach, as an employee of the college, acts as the college’s “agent,” and therefore, the college assumes liability for the coach’s negligent actions.

Oftentimes, coaches may want a student-athlete to seek medical attention to gain clearance and return to practice for an upcoming game or championship. If a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, athletic trainer, or physician acts in gross negligence or wilful misconduct, they may be held responsible through a claim. It’s best to seek guidance from an experienced college sports injury attorney at Steinberg Law Firm.  

Other Players

In some cases, another athlete may be responsible for your injury. This typically comes up when the athlete acted intentionally or recklessly, outside the bounds of the rules of the game. Proving this can be difficult, as many sports inherently involve some degree of physical contact and risk. Pursuing a college injury claim against a player is not usually the first choice because college athletes may not have adequate resources or insurance coverage to fully compensate an injured player. 

Equipment Manufacturers

Manufacturers of sporting equipment can be held responsible if a product is found to be faulty or does not provide the safety it claims to. If your injury was caused by such a malfunction or safety-related misrepresentation, the manufacturer could be held liable. These product liability claims are different from many other types of college injury cases because they rely on a theory of strict liability, meaning once you prove that a product was dangerous or defective, you do not need to show that the manufacturer was negligent. 

While all of this may make it sound like there are many possible avenues for legal recourse, it’s important to note that many colleges and universities require student-athletes to sign waivers that limit the institution’s liability for sports-related injuries. These waivers don’t necessarily cover all scenarios, particularly in cases of gross negligence, but they can make legal action more challenging.

What Is the Impact of a Release Waiver on an Athlete’s Ability to Sue?

A college sports waiver is a document that a student-athlete signs, acknowledging the risks involved in participating in a particular sport and agreeing not to hold the college or university legally responsible for any injuries they might suffer as a result of their participation. Waivers are enforceable in certain situations but unenforceable in others, so it is important to consult with an experienced South Carolina sports injury lawyer. 

A release waiver may prevent an athlete from suing a college or university in some situations. This typically only applies to injuries that one might expect to experience simply by participating in the sport. For example, a basketball player will not likely be successful in a claim based on a sprained ankle she received while landing awkwardly after bringing in a rebound. However, injuries that are caused by the gross negligence or recklessness of another party typically fall outside the scope of a release waiver, for example:

Gross Negligence or Reckless Conduct: While a waiver can protect a college from liability for ordinary negligence, it generally can’t protect it from liability for gross negligence or reckless conduct – behavior that shows a substantial disregard for the safety of others. 

Intentional Acts: If a coach, staff member, or another student deliberately causes harm, a waiver is unlikely to protect the college from liability.

Faulty Equipment: If the school provides equipment that is faulty or unsafe and this leads to an injury, a waiver may not protect the college.

Misrepresentations: If the college made false claims or promises about the safety of its sports programs, a waiver may not protect it from liability.

Of course, the exact terms of a sports waiver can vary significantly, and its enforceability can depend on a range of factors, including what state’s laws apply and the specific circumstances of an injury. If you have specific questions about a sports waiver, you should consult with a Charleston college sports injury lawyer at the Steinberg Law Firm. 

What Damages Can an Injured College Athlete Recover Through a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

As an injured college athlete, when you pursue a personal injury lawsuit, there are several types of damages you can potentially recover, depending on the specific circumstances of your case. Typically, these considerations include the nature and severity of your injury, which state’s laws apply, and whether the defendant’s conduct was negligent or intentional. Some general categories of damages that might be recoverable include the following:

Medical Expenses: This can include compensation for the cost of immediate medical care following the injury, as well as anticipated future medical expenses, such as physical therapy or long-term care.

Lost Wages and Earning Capacity: If the athlete is unable to work (either temporarily or permanently) due to their injuries, they may be able to recover damages for lost wages. If the injury affects their ability to earn money in the future, they may be awarded damages for lost earning capacity. This could be a major consideration for athletes who were in the process of being scouted for professional league play. 

Pain and Suffering: These damages compensate for the physical pain and emotional distress suffered by the athlete as a result of the injury. The amount can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the case; however, pain and suffering damages often make up a significant portion of an athlete’s overall damages award. 

Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If the injury permanently prevents the athlete from enjoying activities that they used to enjoy, they might be awarded damages for loss of enjoyment of life.

Punitive Damages: If the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious or reckless, the court might award punitive damages to punish the defendant and deter similar conduct in the future.

Speak with an Experienced College Sports Injury Lawyer About Your Case Today

If you were injured while playing college sports, you aren’t alone. And while some injuries can’t be prevented, others can. However, coaches, trainers, and even school administrators can push athletes beyond what their bodies can handle. At the Steinberg Law Firm, our dedicated team of personal injury lawyers has more than 95 years of experience helping injury victims recover fair compensation for everything they’ve been through. We provide all prospective clients with a free case evaluation, during which we will listen to what happened, answer your questions, and explain how we can help you pursue a legal claim against those who are responsible for your injuries. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call the Steinberg Law Firm at 843-720-2800. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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