Court Dismisses Concussion Lawsuit Against Coach as Her Inexperience Works in Her Favor

(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt from an article in the recent issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter. To read the full article, please subscribe at http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

A federal judge has granted a cheerleading coach’s motion for summary judgment in a case in which she was sued by a cheerleader, who suffered multiple concussions under her watch.

In so ruling, the court determined that because the coach could not have foreseen the injury, the coach’s actions did not cross the necessary threshold, or exhibit “a degree of culpability that shock the conscience.”

Describing the factual scenario as “tragic,” the court noted that, in September 2014, the plaintiff was a member of a non-competitive cheerleading squad sponsored by a local high school. During that membership, the plaintiff was supervised and coached by the individual defendant and coach, who had been appointed as a cheerleading coach by the school board in March 2014. Prior to this appointment beginning in the fall of 2014, coach had never before served as a cheerleading coach.

While under the tutelage of the coach, the plaintiff suffered the three injuries to her head, which form the basis of this suit. On Sept. 10, 2014, she was injured twice during cheerleading practice. The first injury occurred when the plaintiff threw another cheerleader into the air and the other cheerleader’s feet struck her in her sternum. The impact caused her to fall to the ground and hit the back of her head on the mat. She suffered immediate symptoms of dizziness, fogginess, headache pain, and being tired.

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