Jury clears New Jersey high school baseball coach sued for telling player to slide

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A seven-year legal entanglement over a junior varsity player’s slide into third base may be at an end. On Monday afternoon, 31-year-old John Suk was finally found not liable for the injuries suffered by former Bound Brook High School baseball player Jake Mesar.

The lawsuit in question was connected to an incident where Suk told Mesar to continue running and then slide into third base. He did, but suffered a devastating ankle break in the process of his slide. Mesar and his family later filed a lawsuit seeking damages from Suk and the school district, seeking more than $1 million citing Suk’s alleged negligence.

To be fair, Mesar’s ankle injury proved to be horrific. Here’s more on how that turned out from New Jersey Advance Media:

Even after three surgeries, the ankle was not improving — one doctor even presented amputation as a possible outcome. A specialist from the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, Robert Rozbruch, found post-traumatic arthritis and signs of necrosis — evidence the bone was dying.

Mesar needed two more surgeries, including one to inject stem cells into the ankle tissue, and he was fit with an external fixator, a stabilizing frame to keep the bones properly positioned. The injury improved, but Rozbruch told the once-active teenager to avoid high-impact activities. Even jogging.

One can understand why Mesar and his family could be upset, but the lawsuit’s conclusion now firmly holds that concern is misplaced.

“(If he had lost) The coaching profession would be under heavy scrutiny for everything that happens’, Suk told New Jersey Advance Media.

“Coaches are going to have to have insurance like doctors have for malpractice. School districts are not going to want to take the risk of having sports.”

Clearly, the judges felt that potential damage was too great to find in favor of Mesar, virtually no matter what happened to the teen.

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