Former wrestler in Montana suing school district for 2008 practice injury

Former wrestler in Montana suing school district for 2008 practice injury

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Former wrestler in Montana suing school district for 2008 practice injury

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A former wrestler in Montana is suing his former school district, accusing it of mishandling the injuries he sustained at a 2008 practice.

James Christian Wine, who was a freshman at Billings (Mont.) Senior High in 2008, filed the suit against School District 2 in Yellowstone County District Court in 2014, according to the Billings Gazette. The suit seeks unspecified damages. In a response to the Gazette, the school district disputes virtually all of Wine’s accusations.

According to the complaint obtained by the Gazette, Wine struck his head on the mat after being flipped over by another wrestler and “immediately felt ‘paralyzed’ ” and passed out during a practice. After regaining consciousness and feeling in his extremities, Wine said he reported what happened to an assistant coach, who then told him “it was just a ‘stinger’” and did not contact the school’s athletic trainer or nurse or dial 911.

Per court records, Wine didn’t tell his parents about the incident despite experiencing dizzy spells and poor coordination during the next two weeks. The head wrestling coach and assistant coach were aware of the problems but did not consult a trainer or nurse while Wine continued to practice.

About two weeks after the incident, according to the Gazette, Wine passed out in the shower and then told his parents about the injury. They took him to Billings Clinic for medical care, where he was diagnosed with a herniated disc in his neck that continued to cause health problems.

Wine accused the district of being negligent because coaches didn’t consult medical officials, arguing that the wrestling drill in which he received the injury was against generally accepted standards of the sport. According to Wine, the drill combined wrestlers from “vastly different” weight classes while students wrestled from their knees.

The school district response obtained by the Gazette notes that “the wrestling coaches were acting within the course and scope of their employment.”

Both sides planned to meet March 1 to schedule future court hearings, according to the most recent filing in the district court’s electronic system.

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