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In the world of competitive professional sports, injuries incurred on the field, whether during training or in an actual match, take a substantial toll on athletes. A serious injury can be the difference between a continuing career as a professional athlete or the prospect of retiring. Such is the predicament Portland Timbers soccer forward Eddie Johnson faced after a series of concussions that led to his April 2012 retirement. Recently, Johnson filed for a $9.9 million personal injury lawsuit against the Timbers for failing to apply proper Major League Soccer return-to-play procedures during the 2012 pre-season.

The lawsuit doesn’t make it clear whose decision it was that Johnson return to play. However, responsibility lies with the team to enforce the MLS’s return-to-play protocol. This protocol states that they should not have allowed Johnson to participate in training or games until doctors cleared him as fit.