The family of a 13-year-old boy who nearly drowned at a summer camp hosted by Dallas Cowboys players says its lawsuit against the camp organizer and the players is about responsibility.
"When I drop my kids off somewhere, I'm expecting someone to take care of my child," Paula Jackson said in a news conference Wednesday. "Any parent would want that person to take care of their child."
Her son, James Jackson Jr., nearly drowned in a swimming pool July 11 on the first day of a four-day camp at the University of North Texas.
The boy, who now has considerable brain damage, was an athlete who did sports and track. He can't do much on his own and has a long recovery ahead of him. He is currently on ventilation.
"He's still struggling to survive," Jackson's mother said. "All his emotions are gone."
His family is suing the camp organizer, Sports International Inc., defensive end Anthony Spencer, for whom the camp is named, wide receiver Miles Austin, cornerback Brandon Carr and former Cowboy Sterling Moore for more than $1 million.
The Jackson family is asking for help with medical bills. The lawsuit says the players should pay for the teen's "pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, medical bills and future loss of earning capacity."
According to documents filed in the lawsuit, the Jackson family and their attorneys say the players let Jackson and several other campers go swimming in the pool without proper supervision.
UNT says lifeguards were on duty at the time.
The family told NBC 5 that the boy does not know how to swim and that paperwork for the camp did not ask about or mention swimming.
James Jackson Jr. was taken to a hospital in critical condition after he was found floating in the pool.
"He was fighting for his life," his mother said. "He was critical condition. He was in the worst situation you could ever find your child."
"The accident at issue -- while extremely unfortunate -- was not the result of any alleged negligence on the part of Sports International, Inc., Anthony Spencer, Miles Austin, Brandon Carr or Sterling Moore. These players had nothing to do with the voluntary swimming activity," the attorneys for Sports International, Spencer, Carr and Moore said in a statement issued Tuesday.
Two of the players did not attend the camp until the day after the incident and another did not attend until two days after the accident, the statement said.
"Simply stated, the decision of plaintiffs' counsel to name the players as defendants in this case is nothing more than an improper, bad faith attempt to gain publicity and forum shop," the attorneys said.
The Dallas Cowboys are not commenting on the lawsuit.