Former prep football player awarded $1 million in lawsuit

A former Iowa high school football player has won a $1 million lawsuit against the school for its response to a head injury he suffered as a member of the team.

footballKacey Strough, who played football at Bedford High School, was awarded more than $140,000 in medical expenses and $850,000 for pain and suffering, loss of mind and body, and loss of future earnings, according to The Des Moines Register.

From the article:

Strough, now 18, had a pre-existing medical condition known as a “cavernous malformation” — abnormally formed blood vessels in his brain — that bled after he suffered a head injury but was allowed to keep practicing and playing, said his attorney, Tom Slater.

Strough’s case first gained prominence when a lawsuit filed in 2013 included allegations that teammates repeatedly threw footballs at his head, bullying that aggravated his injury. Ultimately, though, the lawsuit was amended and the bullying claim was not addressed at trial.

After a weeklong trial in U.S. District Court in Des Moines, jurors found Monday that the district and school nurse Andrea Schuelke were negligent in failing to notify coaches of Strough’s potential concussion or brain injury and of failing to follow up with his grandmother, who was taking care of him, to make sure he was seen by a physician.

Strough underwent surgery in November 2012 to remove a blood clot near the brainstem. He has permanent injuries and currently uses a wheelchair.

Iowa passed a concussion law in 2011, mandating how schools must monitor potential head injuries in extracurriculars. It requires that any athlete suspected of having a head injury be immediately removed from play and not permitted to return until written clearance is given by a health care provider.

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