$4.4 Million settlement for Student Head Injury

Were warning signs ignored?

On September 14, 2007, while playing in a high school football game, Scott Eveland, suffered a serious head injury that caused bleeding inside his brain.  He now has to communicate using a keyboard and is confined to a wheelchair due to extensive brain damage.

It was alleged that head coach Chris Hauser ignored warning signs.  Scott had complained to the assistant trainer the week before the game that he was having headaches and had already missed some practices.  On the day of the injury, Scott requested to sit out the first quarter due to a headache, but the head coach denied his request.  A settlement of $4.4 million has now been agreed upon by the area school district in San Diego.

Jury verdicts of this nature will pressure General Liability carriers to increase rates or restrict coverage.  There has been an outcry from high school coaches and former players who are concerned that jury verdicts will end contact sports such as tackle football.  In my opinion, this risk will be better managed in the future by the use of better waiver/release agreements, education on concussions and warning signs, baseline cognitive testing and better helmet technology.