Tag Archives: international

Canadian Football Player Sues University over Concussion

(Editor’s Note: Jon Heshka, Associate Dean of Law at Thompson Rivers University, recently provided his expert analysis on a recent lawsuit brought by a student athlete in Canada against Bishop’s University)

A victim of bad timing following the NFL’s $765 million settlement with ex-football players in which the league admitted no wrongdoing in relation to brain injuries sustained on the playing field, a Canadian football player has sued his former university for brain injuries sustained during a 2011 game.John_Heshka24982

Former defensive end Kevin Kwasny has sued Bishop’s University – based in Sherbrooke, Quebec – in a Manitoba court for $7.5 million alleging he was forced to play despite having symptoms of a concussion during a September 10, 2011 game.

Kwasny alleges he took a blow to his head during the game and told multiple members of the coaching staff that he felt dizzy, had blurred vision and felt like he had “his bell rung.” He further alleges that he was ordered to play despite having these concussion symptoms.

Shortly after returning to the field, Kwasny was hit again and suffered a subdural hematoma (bleeding on the brain). Emergency surgery was performed and he was put in a medically-induced coma. Kwasny now has permanent brain damage and has lost use of the right side of his body. The statement of claim says he will never be able to work again.

Kwasny alleges that coaches and trainers failed to assess him for signs and/or symptoms of a concussion or head injury as required or at all.

Bishop’s University Principal and Vice-Chancellor denies the university did anything wrong saying, “Our football program, our coaches, our medical staff would not allow an athlete to go back on the field if there was any indication of head trauma.” At the time, coaches reviewed game film and were unable to pinpoint any hit or play that caused an injury.

Though they had yet to receive a copy of the statement of claim and were unable to comment specifically, Bishop’s University released a statement saying that a thorough review had been undertaken which showed that from the moment the sports medicine team and coaching staff became aware of a potential injury they took all necessary precautions to ensure Kwasny received immediate medical care.

Bishop’s University has yet to file a statement of defense. None of these allegations have been proven in court.

(Heshka went on to write about case law that is relevant to the instant lawsuit as well as strategies that may be employed. To read the full story, visit https://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/concussion-litigation-reporter/)

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Hockey Violence and the Long Arm of the Law

(Editor’s note: What follows is a brief excerpt of an article written by Jon Heshka, Associate Professor of the Law & Adventure Studies Department at Thompson Rivers University. The full article will appear in the December Concussion Litigation Reporter and Sports Litigation Alert.)

What began as a hotly contested hockey game has turned into an international legal dispute. With more twists, turns and double salchows than a figure skating routine, this case involves two players from different countries playing in a third country, two insurers, criminal and civil proceedings, and the judicial systems of two countries including two levels of court in the United States and at least three in Switzerland.

The “incident” as the US Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit characterized it, happened during the finals of the Swiss National League A on October 31, 2000. American Kevin Miller, playing for HC Davos, collided with Canadian Andrew McKim of the ZSC Lions. McKim was checked hard from behind by Miller 0.38 seconds after shooting the puck on net. The check caused McKim to suffer a whiplash-type injury and then hit the ice hard with his forehead.

Contact sports like hockey hadn’t yet witnessed the concussion litigation crisis now confronting the NFL so there was limited awareness about the identification, treatment and management of sports-related concussions. Nevertheless, just after the collision, McKim’s cognitive deficit was sufficiently pronounced that he could not even recall if he even had children. McKim experienced a traumatic brain injury and a sprain to his cervical spine.

McKim’s career was over. Miller, however, went on to play two additional seasons with HC Davos, play two seasons in American minor hockey leagues and later for the NHL Detroit Red Wings.

Miller was suspended for eight games and fined CFH 3000 ($3200 USD) by the Swiss Ice Hockey Association. In September 2005, the Zurich District Court … (subscribe to CLR to see the rest of the article at https://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

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