Athletic officials at Hermiston High School in Oregon failed to treat a 15-year-old’s concussion following a helmet-to-helmet collision during a junior varsity football game in September 2016, and allowed the boy to play four days later despite lingering symptoms of his brain injury. During that game, the boy suffered repeated blows to the head, which knocked him unconscious, exacerbating his earlier concussion and resulting in permanent brain damage. As a result, the boy’s parents are suing the Hermiston School District for $38 million. The lawsuit was filed in the Umatilla County Circuit Court.
Connor Martin was 15 when he suffered those back-to-back head injuries. Hours after the second game during which Martin was knocked unconscious, Martin’s mother found him “curled up in the fetal position on the couch, sobbing because of a severe headache.” He was stumbling and vomiting most of the night, the lawsuit states.
Now 17, Martin still suffers from concussion side effects like headaches, vision problems, light sensitivity, and problems with his balance so severe that he has fallen and broken his nose. Because of the brain damage, he cannot drive a car until his condition improves – if it can improve.
The school system issued a statement saying, “Our focus is always on the safety and emotional well-being of our students and in providing them with a first-class education. If there are lessons to be learned from this or any other situation we will apply them with that focus in mind.”
New laws to better identify concussions in student athletes and how concussions are responded to have helped lower the rate of head injuries in student athletes in recent years. But still, a staggering 2.7 million high school athletes experienced concussions from 2009 to 2016, according to a study in the American Journal of Public Health. These can result not only in short-term effects, but also long-term ones, as seen in Martin’s case.
Source: Oregon Live