Former High School Football Player Sues School District, Others Over Alleged Failure to Follow Concussion Protocol

Mar 17, 2017

A former Pennsylvania high school football player has filed a lawsuit against the West Mifflin Area School District and governing bodies of high school athletics in the state, claiming the defendants did not have the proper concussion protocols in place, and failed to adequately treat the plaintiff after he suffered a concussion in a 2009 practice.
Plaintiff Shane Skillpa, a 2012 graduate of West Mifflin, filed his suit in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court. In addition to the school district, he named the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc. (PIAA) and the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) as defendants. 
Skillpa, represented by Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace, LLP, alleged that in a 2009 practice he was participating in an “Oklahoma Drill,” where two players purposefully collide to demonstrate superior athletic strength, when a collision with another player cracked his helmet.
Skillpa’s attorneys alleged in the complaint that he was never evaluated by medical personnel. Further, he returned to practice 15 to 20 minutes later with a new helmet. The plaintiff continued to participate in practices over the next couple days, then developed flu-like symptoms, which were later diagnosed as a concussion, according to the lawsuit.
In September 2016, Skillpa was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, allegedly stemming from the concussion he suffered in August 2009. He currently suffers from cognitive impairment, organic affective disorder and PTSD. “He suffers from unusual light sensitivity, anxiety,” attorney Richard Sandow told the media. “He has space-related problems, memory loss, all kinds of sleep issues.”
The contention that the debilitating symptoms from a single concussion manifested themselves years later in a young adult is unusual.


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