A California coach stands accused of refusing to give one of his players a helmet, then forcing that player to go through a full-contact workout, leading to his concussion.
As reported by California news network KESQ, Yucca Valley football player Benjamin Lopez scrimmaged without a helmet during a practice last Wednesday. The results were precisely what you’d expect from a modern prep sports nightmare.
After slamming into the player, he said he became disoriented, nauseous and started vomiting. Lopez said he was put on the sidelines without receiving medical attention.
Lopez’s father was eventually contacted and took him to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion.
The incident started when Lopez reportedly arrived after they had already locked away the helmets. The coaches reportedly refused to allow Lopez to retrieve a helmet, but still made him go through the team’s full practice as if he were wearing one, leading to the contact and concussion that was diagnosed at the hospital.
While the refusal to let Lopez wear a helmet may seem inexcusable, the coach’s bigger legal concern may come from his reluctance to immediately address the teen when he became disoriented and began vomiting. That’s a sure sign of a concussion, and failure to immediately isolate the teen and treat his symptoms violates a California Interscholastic Federation mandate.
For now, the Yucca Valley summer training will still be led by coach J.D. Thompson, who remains on staff pending an ongoing investigation.
If the Lopez family has its way, that won’t be the case for much longer.
“We want him fired, that’s all we want,” Benjamin Lopez Sr, told KESQ. “Nothing more.”