Jonathan Boland, a former Oregon high school football star who suffered multiple concussions during his career, is suing Parkrose High School (Portland, Ore.) with allegations the district committed child abuse and was negligent, according to Investigate West.
Boland was a star quarterback who received attention from the Pac-12 and eventually joined Portland State.
As a sophomore in high school, with the school’s second playoff appearance in 26 years on the line, he returned for a play-in game despite failing his first ImPACT test that would clear him for play and there being no record of him passing a second attempt, according to Investigate West. Parkrose lost.
As a junior, he suffered another concussion, this one season-ending.
At PSU, concussions continued to arise and Boland began to hide them, even going as far as lying about going to the hospital, according to Investigate West.
He was forced to end his career due to concussions. Two days after Boland announced his retirement, he was arrested for a string of robberies.
According to Investigate West, Boland had began abusing Xanax and decided to rob a convenience store with former Central Catholic High School (Portland, Ore.) cornerback Saadiq Calhoun. Calhoun was the gunman, Boland was a lookout and pretended to be a bystander. They robbed three stores in a period of about 48 hours.
Boland admitted to the robberies, expressed remorse and cooperated with police. He eventually took a plea deal and is serving 7.5 years in prison.
“I felt bad, like, I did this to these people,” he said in a 2018 interview with Investigate West. “I traumatized these people. I’m sorry for it.”
Joseph Schwartz, a criminologist professor at the University of Nebraska Omaha, told Investigate West the concussions may have played a factor in his decision to rob the stores.
Boland had suffered one concussion 47 days prior to the robbery.
“There’s pretty consistent evidence indicating that brain injury is a significant risk factor for delinquent behavior,” Schwartz told the outlet.
Now, held in Oregon State Penitentiary, Boland is seeking $950,000 in damages from Parkrose for the high school allowing him to continue playing despite what he believes had been lingering symptoms even after the doctor cleared him.
Boland and his mother, Renee Boland, told Investigate West they had not been planning to sue the school. But in March 2018, Renee requested medical documents from the school.
Parkrose responded by saying she would have to sign a waiver clearing the school of wrongdoings to access it, the outlet reported.
The mother later received a call from Superintendent Karen Gray, admitting it was illegal and asking Renee to “vouch for her, to not mess up her image.”
Renee told Investigate West that Gray seemed more worried about herself than Renee’s son.
“It was the phone call that pushed me over the edge,” she said.
This lawsuit will address Max’s law, according to Investigate West. This rule states that medical clearance dictates whether or not the athlete can play, not the coach. The lawsuit claims the coach should have prevented Boland from playing despite the doctor’s note.