Divorce leads to lawsuit over whether son can play high school football

Divorce leads to lawsuit over whether son can play high school football

Outside The Box

Divorce leads to lawsuit over whether son can play high school football


Divorces are difficult, frustrating and sometimes sew seeds of permanent discord in a family. In one case, they can even lead to a lawsuit over extracurriculars.

As reported by the New York Times, a Pittsburgh father and mother are now in a family court case to determine whether their youngest son, a 17-year-old football player, should be allowed to continue playing the sport after suffering three previous concussions.

Per the report, John Orsini has now filed suit against his ex-wife, Janice, to prevent their teenage son from resuming his football career. The most telling part of this journey, however, is Orsini’s background and the knowledge that drove him to do everything possible to keep his son off a football field: He was moved by ongoing head trauma research and the fact that his son had suffered two concussions in as many years playing high school football.

For a man who was raised as a Steelers fan and developed the same passion in his sons — starting in tackle football at age 5 — the transformation has been remarkable.

Here’s what Orsini told the Times about his rationale for the lawsuit:

“The moment for me started when he repeatedly got diagnosed with concussions and the doctors kept telling me there was no reason for him to not keep going,” Mr. Orsini said. Having worked as a plaintiff’s attorney, he was alarmed. “His mother didn’t question the doctors, but in my profession it is an impossibility.”

Added his lawyer: “Playing football cannot be considered status quo when the Child has now suffered three concussions. (Common sense holds) the best interest and general health welfare of the Child is protected by not permitting Child to participate in football.”

The unnamed Orsini teen was able to complete his junior season after his mother filed an appeal of Orsini’s original motion to keep him off the field, then sued to gain sole legal custody with particular reference to extracurricular activities.

That has led the Orsini family back to the table for court mandated mediation, and perhaps a solution. The elder Orsini, for one, isn’t holding out much hope for a resolution.

“If I can’t stop him now, he’s on track to have a lot more damage done,” Orsini told the Times.


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