Mission Prep football lawsuit moving forward
August 13, 2015
A lawsuit alleging Mission Prep High School is responsible for one of its former football players suffering brain damage and cruel bullying has cleared an initial hurdle.
In the case, the former player, a minor, is suing the school and the former team captain, also a minor. The plaintiff alleges his former teammate intentionally caused him to suffer severe injuries and then bragged and taunted him about the physical damage he caused.
During a 2013 practice, the plaintiff suffered multiple helmet-to-helmet hits, which are not allowed by California high school football rules. An assistant coach also named in the suit encouraged the hits, according to the lawsuit.
The plaintiff has since suffered a concussion, brainstem stroke, sensory deficits in his left torso and extremities, headaches, pain walking, Horner’s syndrome in his right eye and difficulty breathing and swallowing, according to the suit.
After the 2013 incident, the injured player endured bullying from Mission Prep students, particularly by way of text message. One text message stated, “Team captain says u r a wimp and hez glad he made ur brains scrambled… and is gonna get u next week to.”
The plaintiff later transferred high schools.
An attorney representing the former team captain and his parents, who are also named in the suit, filed a motion to strike punitive damages. A judge denied the motion on Wednesday, stating the defendant did intend to cause injury to the plaintiff.
The ruling also stated that the plaintiff did not assume the risk of the emotional distress he suffered merely by choosing to play football. The general legal duty of a sports player is to not intentionally injure another participant or behave so reckless that the conduct is outside the normal range of the sport, a case cited in the ruling states.
The lawsuit additionally names Mission Prep Head Coach Chad Henry, Principal James Childs and the Diocese of Monterey.
The plaintiff’s attorney stated in a press release Wednesday, “Bully culture at Mission Prep. is to blame.”