Two former and one current high school athletes have sued the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association over concussions they suffered.
The lawsuit filed Thursday in Lawrence County seeks class-action status and asks a judge to force the PIAA, which governs high school sports in the state, to establish a trust fund for athletes and former athletes suffering from post-concussion medical problems, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review first reported Friday (http://bit.ly/21VGrJb).
The lawsuit was filed by filed by Jonathan Hites, who suffered a concussion while attending a football camp in 2011, and Kaela Zingaro, a softball player injured in a game last year. Both attended Neshannock High School.
The third plaintiff, Samuel Teolis, is suing on behalf of his 17-year-old son, Domenic Teolis, a Lincoln High School student who suffered concussions in football games and practices in 2012.
Hite was a freshman football player. He wasn’t medically cleared for more than a year after his concussion, and he’s still suffering residual effects, including learning and social disabilities, according to the suit.
Zingaro claims she continues to have headaches and trouble concentrating though she was cleared to play two months after her concussion.
Teolis, a senior, contends he played in a game the day after suffering a concussion in practice and that coaches and a trainer didn’t intervene until his parents took him to a hospital after the game.
None of the schools was sued.
The lawsuit contends the PIAA didn’t properly track concussions and establish tests to determine when it was safe for athletes to resume playing and otherwise require PIAA-sanctioned events to be staffed with medical personnel. The lawsuit also contends the PIAA should have ensured school officials were educated about the proper medical responses to concussions and should have provided resources for medical care, including post-injury monitoring.
PIAA Executive Director Bob Lombardi declined to comment Friday, saying the agency hasn’t been served with the lawsuit and hasn’t reviewed it.