The family of a North Carolina football player who died after sustaining a head injury in practice is suing the school system and members of the school’s athletic staff.
Rolesville (N.C) junior Isaiah Langston, 17, died Sept. 29, 2014, from a stroke that a state medical examiner’s report said was caused by a head injury suffered five days before in football practice. According to the lawsuit filed in Wake County Superior Court and obtained by The News & Observer, Langston’s family accuses the school of not following the state’s concussion protocol and of not acting after the teen complained of headaches prior to his collapse before a football game two days later.
“The aforesaid injuries, death and damages sustained by Isaiah Langston were directly and proximately caused by the careless, negligent, grossly negligent, reckless, and willful and/or wantonly actions of the Defendants,” the family says in the lawsuit filed in August and obtained by The News & Observer.
Under state law, per the News & Observer, student-athletes in North Carolina who display symptoms of a concussion must be cleared by a medical doctor or licensed athletic trainer before returning to practice.
In its response to the lawsuit, school officials acknowledge Langston wasn’t cleared to play by any doctor and didn’t participate in the concussion protocol. School attorneys deny, however, that school employees knew that Langston had suffered a concussion or that he had complained of headaches prior to his collapse.
“Isaiah Langston was negligent in one or more respects and failed to exercise the proper care which prudent persons under the same or similar circumstances would have exercised,” the district writes in its legal response, per The News & Observer.
Langston was hit in the back of the head during football practice Sept. 24, 2014, and had a headache for two days, per the report by medical examiner Dr. Andrew Rand. The 17-year-old was then “held out” of practice during those two days, according to Rand.
In the pregame warm-ups Sept. 26, 2014, Langston collapsed and was taken to the hospital. He died three days later.
Per The News & Observer, in addition to suing the school system, the lawsuit names as defendants Rolesville athletic director Tommy Moore; Jermaine Evans, the head football coach at the time; Anthony McKoy, an assistant football coach; and Brad Farrell, the school’s head athletic trainer at the time.
A jury trial requested by the family could begin as soon as Nov. 13.