A former high school football player, Scott Eveland of San Marcos, California, has settled his lawsuit with the school district over a head injury he sustained in a 2007 game. The injury has left him confined to a wheelchair, able to speak only through the use of an iPad or computer keyboard.
The issue of traumatic brain injuries in football has gained attention in recent months, with multiple lawsuits seeking damages from both athletic organizations and equipment manufacturers. Eveland had previously settled a products liability claim against the helmet manufacturers, and the remainder of the case focused on the liability of the school’s coaching staff.
Eveland was a senior at Mission Hills High School in San Marcos, located north of San Diego. He played linebacker for the varsity football team. According to the lawsuit, on September 14, 2007, he went to the athletic trainer to ask to sit out the first quarter because of a headache, which he claimed was so bad he could not focus his eyes. Eveland had already reportedly missed parts of practice due to headaches. The trainer went to the head coach who told the trainer, according to a student trainer who claimed to have witnessed the exchange, “You aren’t a [expletive] doctor,” and that the coach would decide who would play in the game. Both the trainer and the coach denied having this discussion in their depositions.
Eveland started the game and played for about thirty minutes. He then collapsed on the field and was rushed to the hospital. He was reportedly on an operating table before the game was even over, undergoing emergency surgery to his skull. Doctors removed part of Eveland’s skull in order to save his life, but extensive bleeding in his brain caused severe and permanent damage. Eveland, who is now 22 years old, cannot stand on his own. He cannot speak, and therefore must use a keyboard or iPad in order to communicate. To use his communications device, he needs someone to prop up his arm by the elbow.
Lawsuits against the school district and the helmet manufacturer sought damages for Eveland’s injuries and his future medical and support needs. Initially, the lawsuit focused on how long it took for an ambulance to arrive at the stadium. After the student trainer’s deposition testimony, offered in 2010, implicated the coaching staff, the lawsuit’s focus reportedly shifted to the question of the school district’s negligence. Specifically, it asked whether the coaching staff was negligent in failing to recognize Eveland’s condition before putting him in the game. Eveland’s attorney estimated the cost of Eveland’s future care at $25 million.
The court originally set the case for trial in January 2012. Eveland and his family settled their claim against the helmet manufacturer for $500,000 several months before the trial setting. The judge continued the trial until March, and the remaining parties agreed to a settlement. They announced a $4.375 million settlement on Friday, March 9, 2012, bringing Eveland’s total settlement close to $5 million.
The Washington, DC injury lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen fight to obtain just compensation for people injured due to the negligence or tortious actions of others. Contact us today online or at (800) 654-1949 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
More Blog Posts:
The Death of a Young Baseball Player and the Lack of Statistics on Youth Sports Injuries, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, May 10, 2012
Washington DC Traumatic Brain Injuries May Up the Risk of Stroke and Dementia, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, August 10, 2011
Many Brain Injury Patients Suffer from Pseudobulbar Affect, Says Survey, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, January 6, 2012
Photo credit: ‘American football in Tel-Aviv, Israel’ by Ron Almog [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.