A former high school offensive lineman in the state of Illinois has filed a lawsuit against the Illinois High School Association, citing it’s lack of responsible concussion management, a process which put his future at risk and temporarily sent him to a behavioral health clinic to overcome lingering concussion syndromes.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune, former South Elgin High nose tackle Alex Pierscionek has filed a lawsuit against the IHSA, blaming the league for its failure to keep Pierscionek from returning to the sport just months after he suffered the original setbacks tied to a concussion he suffered during a practice training drill.
Here’s how the Chicago Tribune lays out some of the most important aspects of the lawsuit:
The litigation calls for the IHSA to establish policies that would, among other things, require schools to have medical professionals with concussion expertise present at all football games, and on call for all football practices. It seeks new guidelines to screen players for brain injuries, as well as a program to educate teachers about identifying concussions.
It also seeks the establishment of a “medical monitoring” program that would allow all ex-high school football players from 2002 forward to be tested for problems that might be related to a concussion. The former athletes would then be able to seek treatment — the IHSA would not be responsible for those costs — or pursue legal action.
“It will help to alert players that they might have a personal injury claim against an individual, schools, coaches, whatever the situation is,” (attorney Joe) Siprut said. “A lot of people just don’t even understand that they have, in effect, a bomb in their heads.”
For it’s part, the IHSA says that it agrees that more improvements are needed to best protect athletes from the risks of concussions, it just disagrees that those changes should be brought in through legislative channels.
Pierscionek insists that he isn’t trying to eliminate football, but rather that the sport needs more safety measures to ensure its long term health.
“I just want to make (football) safer,” Pierscionek told the Tribune. “I don’t want to get rid of it.”