A former high school basketball player in South Carolina who suffered two sports-related concussions while competing for First Baptist School of Charleston was awarded a $5.87 million settlement on Friday despite the fact that First Baptist put him through the state’s concussion protocol.
As reported by the Charleston Post and Courier, a jury found in favor of former First Baptist athlete Brett Baker-Goins in a case where Baker-Goins accused his now-former school of rushing him back on to the court, where he suffered a second concussion that led to permanent brain damage that has continued to stunt his development.
“This was a five-year battle that ended with the truth,” Baker-Goins told the media, including the Post and Courier, in a statement.
What may be most striking about Baker-Goins’ lawsuit — beyond the sheer value of the award he received — is the fact that he had been placed in the South Carolina Independent School Association’s “return to play protocol,” by First Baptist.
In theory that protocol should have kept Baker-Goins out of any on court activities that would have place him at risk of concussion recurrence for as long as it required to recover from his initial brain injury.
Instead, Baker-Goins alleges he was rushed through the protocol and returned to action and suffered a second concussion in fewer than five weeks.
The second incident apparently had a significantly deleterious impact on Baker-Goins’ life, leading to the lawsuit and, eventually, the landmark ruling that should now help set up the basketball player’s future … and perhaps pave the way for other former athletes who suffered traumatic brain injuries in prior eras to file lawsuits to gain restitution.