A former member of the Saint Xavier cross country team is suing the high school, claiming it was negligent in a practice last summer that resulted in his hospitalization.
The lawsuit says Cooper Marchal suffered a heat stroke resulting from a July 22, 2017, team practice at Iroquois Park. He lost consciousness and was hospitalized, where he was put in a medically-induced coma, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in Jefferson Circuit Court.
Marchal graduated from St. X this year, according to the school’s website, and is at least 18 years old, according to his attorney Nina Couch of Taylor Couch PLLC in Louisville.
The lawsuit says the school “failed to adequately supervise, screen, test, monitor, and treat the student runners for heat-related injuries and illness” and “was negligent in hiring, training, educating, and supervising its coaches and coaching staff.”
Claims made in a lawsuit only represent one side of the case. Officials from St. X did not immediately return a request for comment from the Courier Journal.
That morning’s practice included a 12-mile run, according to the lawsuit, which said Louisville was under a heat advisory at the time and the heat index the previous day had been 107 degrees.
The lawsuit says the school is responsible for the negligence of employees Charles Medley, cross country head coach, and Andrew Meirose, assistant head coach. The two coaches are not named as defendants. Medley declined to comment.
On May 19, Marchal finished fifth in the 3200-meter run at the Class 3A state track and field meet.
The lawsuit asks for compensation for past and future medical costs, pain and suffering, emotional and mental distress, lost wages, future earnings and “loss of enjoyment of life.”
“The lawsuit involves allegations of carelessness on the part of St. X in having its student-athletes run 12 miles during a cross-country practice on one of the hottest days of last year without taking adequate precautions,” Marchal’s law firm said in a written statement. “Cooper wants what happened to him to never happen to another student-athlete and looks forward to his day in court.”