Unique Football Brain Injury Lawsuit Filed By 66-year old Woman

There is no shortage of sports brain injury news, including talk about the lawsuits against the NFL or efforts to improve equipment safety. Our Chicago brain injury attorneys frequently comment on these issues.

But Opposing Views published a story this week on a somewhat unique sports-related brain injury case–filed by a sixty six year old woman who claims she suffered a brain injury during a football camp. The obvious question is: What was an older woman doing participating in a football camp? According to the story, the plaintiff was participating in a “Football 101” program. The event is geared toward women to help them better understand the details of the game. It was founded by the current head football coach of the University of Nebraska. The civil complaint named as defendants the foundation which sponsored the event as well as the volunteer coach participating in the event.

The Brain Injury
According to the complaint filed in the brain injury lawsuit, the woman was at the clinic in June of 2010. As part of the event she was participating in a “gauntlet” exercise where she ran through a line of other women with pads who were trying to knock a football out of her hands. The volunteer coach allegedly urged the other women to hit the plaintiff aggressively. He also did not give any warnings or instructions about the drill which might have prevented an injury.

When the drill started, the woman was allegedly hit very forcefully by two women at the front of the gauntlet line. The force was so strong that the women was knocked off the ground and her head forcefully hit the training center floor. The earrings and a cap she was wearing allegedly flew of her head during the impact.

This was not something from which she could bounce right back. The head injury allegedly caused her to experience an immediate headache and she was soon nauseated. In addition, the accident caused her right foot to start dragging. This all was made worse by the lack of proper medical assistance. She was carried to a chair and told that medical staff would soon check on her. Unfortunately, that medical observation never came.

Eventually, the complications from the brain injury became apparently. It was later learned that she suffered a subdural hematoma which required brain surgery. The accident also caused physical damage to her shoulder–she experienced a rotator cuff injury that required surgery to repair tendon damage.

The woman contacted a brain injury lawyer after her recovery and sought legal accountability for the accident. In her complaint she claims that there was a lack of proper warning or instructions about the activity. The coaches should have known about the potential dangers and properly warned all participants on basic safety tips to avoid a serious accident. Not only that, but the potential danger was likely made worse by the encouragement of increased aggressive contact. In addition, basic medical and safety protocols were not followed. Head injury dangers are well known in these activities, but no helmets were worn by the participants.

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