The family of an East St. Louis Senior High School football player has named the football coach and the school district in a lawsuit filed in St. Clair County.
The personal injury lawsuit alleges the football player suffered a permanent, stroke-causing, traumatic brain injury (TBI) after the football coach ignored headache complaints and signs of a concussion from the player during a game.
Shanai McLorn filed the lawsuit on behalf of her son, Demond Hunt Jr., who sustained the TBI. McLorn claims the football coach, Darren Sunkett, recklessly endangered football players with his win-at-all-cost approach. Sunkett, for example, is accused of requiring his players to perform contact drills without proper protection equipment, taunting them for complaining of ailments, yelling at players to continue playing even with apparent head injuries, and constant ridicule. McLorn claims that Sunkett often ridiculed injured players, which allegedly created a fear of reporting injuries among the players. In addition, Sunkett often failed, allegedly, to notify parents of any injuries their child sustained while engaged in football-related activities.
The injury in question occurred when Hunt took several blows to the head in an Oct. 3, 2008 game against Collinsville High School. Then 16, Hunt suffered a burst blood vessel or clot in his brain, causing a series of seizures and strokes that led to a two-week coma, according to the lawsuit.
The remaining defendants include helmet manufacturer Schutt Holdings and Curt Smith Sporting Goods, which were accused of manufacturing and selling defective helmets, respectively.
The plaintiff claims medical bills for her son have exceeded $200,000 for his hospital stay and ongoing physical therapy. She is seeking “an amount in excess of $50,000.”
The suit was originally filed in 2009, but voluntarily dismissed last year.
The amended complaint can be found here: http://www.stltoday.com/demond-hunt-jr-lawsuit/pdf_445e3d66-13a9-56d9-b809-c342ef867215.html