Junior Football Player in Canada Sues Over 2017 Concussion

Feb 12, 2021 | NCAA, Title IX

A former Canadian Junior Football League player has sued the club he played for in Ontario Superior Court of Justice, alleging the club and several individual defendants were negligent when they failed to provide an acceptable duty of care.

Larry Blocker, Jr., a Windsor native, claimed he sustained serious and permanent physical trauma to his head, neck, and brain when his team, the London Beefeaters, lost 58-0 to the Calgary Colts at Calgary’s McMahon Stadium Sept. 24, 2017.

Blocker, who is seeking more than $7 million in damages, named the team, former head coach Chris Marshall, assistant Alex Wolves, trainer Luke Cruickshank, the conference, and the league as defendants. In addition, his mother, Heather Hackney, is seeking $600,000 in damages for loss of guidance, care and companionship and expenses related to his ongoing care.

“It was a failure of the coaching staff to protect someone who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a football game,” plaintiffs lawyer Phillip Millar told the media. “This is one of the most serious cases I’ve found about following concussion protocols.”

Specifically, Millar alleged that no concussion protocol was initiated after Blocker suffered the injury. In fact, he charged, he was instructed to return in the second half, during which he suffered another blow, according to the statement. Further, he alleged that his client didn’t receive a post-game assessment or treatment.

The Beefeaters answered the lawsuit, suggesting in a statement that “the injury is far less serious than Blocker claims.

“If Block did sustain an injury in the game, then it occurred during the normal course of the game, and there was no fault, negligence or breach of duty on the part of defendants which contributed to the injury.”

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