The primary assumption of the risk didn’t shield a youth water polo league from liability for repeat concussions suffered by a goalie due to the league’s failure to promulgate concussion management and return to play protocols.  Secondary concussions are not inherent in the sport.  The league assumed a duty of care to participants in its program and breached the duty, increasing the risk of harm to participants, by failing to adopt appropriate concussion-management protocols.  The failure to adopt those protocols despite repeated requests and knowledge of the severe risk of repeat concussions was enough to give rise to a claim for gross negligence, avoiding the release participants signed to play in the league.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Fletcher, W., J.); November 28, 2018; 909 F.3d 1055