School District, Coaches Rebuffed in Motion to Dismiss Concussion Claim

(Editor’s Note: What follows is a brief synopsis of a case summary that will appear in the upcoming October issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter)

A federal judge has denied a motion to dismiss filed by a school district and some of its coaches, who were sued for their handling of a student athlete’s concussion.

The plaintiff, a high school student, was participating in football practice at the high school when he was hit by a teammate running full speed toward him. After the hit, he reported feelings of numbness and/or disorientation to the coaching staff, and his bavior became erratic. Immediately after the incident, the coaches told him to continue practicing, according to the complaint. They also allegedly failed to perform a medical evaluation, concussion test, or send him to the athletic trainer.

Later on, during the same football practice, he was hit again, causing him to be confused, dazed, and unable to continue practice. He was taken to the school’s trainer thereafter, but could not provide complete information to the trainer regarding the two hits he sustained, according to the complaint.

The parents of the plaintiff, who continues to suffer from a host of ailments, sued, claiming the defendants did not have a proper policy and/or procedure in place to instruct student athletes on the causes, hazards, symptoms, and dangers of traumatic brain injuries and despite the plaintiff’s physical manifestations and his complaints after his first hit, at no time did the defendants ensure that the plaintiff was medically cleared to return to practice.

More details can be found in the October issue of CLR

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Targeting Calls Are Working for the SEC

In a teleconference with the media, Steve Shaw, head of officials with the Southeastern Conference, said the enforcement of targeting offenses is working for the conference.

Over the first four weeks of the season, there have been three targeting calls, all of which have been upheld.refs-150x150

“I think our guys are really paying attention,” Shaw said on the call. “The coaches are doing a great job, and our officials are staying on point on this. Really, I think the rule is working.”

The comment reinforced what Shaw said in the pre-season that he sees “evidence of players lowering the target and sometimes pulling up on an unnecessary hit so they’re not at risk for a targeting disqualification. The rule has done what we wanted to do and we need to stay with it.”

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NFL Concussion Plaintiff Dies, Cause May be Unrelated to Concussions

Scott Ross, a former NFL player who was part of a lawsuit filed by former players over head trauma and concussions, died earlier this week. He was reportedly found dead in a church parking lot in Lafayette, La.

His aunt went online to say the cause of death was heart failure.

“I’ve watched my nephew Scott struggle over the years with injuries from football,” said . “(W)e all need to realize this is the tragedy story playing behind the scenes — the ones fallen from the spotlight — they are honored on the field and in death, BUT forgotten by the ‘NFL Leagues’ when they are no longer a resource. Scott is just one, but there are many — young minds with elderly dementia — the ‘ex-football’ players who now walk with canes and some need guardians. Forgotten ‘life’ of the tailgate party. Scott educated many and his problems pale in comparison to many ex players. Scott passed peacefully from heart failure… his body just gave out.”

Ross, 45, was a linebacker at USC, who was taken in the 11th round of the 1991 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints. He appeared in four games with the team. In a 2012 lawsuit against the NFL and NFL Properties, he claimed that he had “sustained multiple repetitive traumatic impacts and concussions, for which he was never treated by a physician while he played in the NFL.” Further, he claimed he “suffers from severe memory loss, cognitive dementia, and, on information and belief, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (“CTE”), a condition caused by repetitive sub-concussive and/or concussive blows to the head.”

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