A Dutchess County (NY) jury has awarded a high school softball player $1.1 million after she was struck in the head by a metal bat during a team practice that had been moved indoors and filed suit.
The incident leading to the litigation occurred on March 13, 2013 when her team’s practice was moved inside by coach David Maffei because of inclement weather.
Maffei directed the team to participate in a soft-toss batting drill, where one player kneels and tosses a ball straight up for the other player to swing at. Helmets were not required. The plaintiff and another player were doing the drill when, while another duo, immediately behind them, was doing the same drill. When the teammate next to the plaintiff swung her bat, it struck McGinley in the head, knocking her unconscious.
The plaintiff lost consciousness and was rushed to the hospital. There, she was diagnosed with a concussion. She later experienced brain-injury symptoms, including Post Trauma Vision Syndrome.
McGinley sued. Her attorneys, Brian Acard and Christopher Camastro of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP, argued the school district failed to provide training for coaches, and did not have policies in place regarding the coach-to-student ratio when a coach moves a practice indoors.
In a statement, Spackenkill Superintendent Mark Villanti said the district “feels badly for the student-athlete and her family, and we do not plan to engage in a public debate over the facts as they are presented in this press release. We have confidence in our athletic department and regret that this accident took place.”