Parents Sue Youth Football League Over Injury

By Ashanti Blaize
|  Thursday, Sep 30, 2010  |  Updated 7:00 PM CDT
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Parents Sue Youth Football League Over Injury

Spence Family Photo

Ryan Spence, then 10, tore his ACL during a drill at practice in 2008.

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Parents of a North Texas youth football player are suing over injuries he sustained during a practice.

The family of Ryan Spence filed suit Monday against the North Texas Youth Football Association and two coaches.

In November 2008, 10-year-old Ryan Spence ruptured his ACL and damaged other connective tissue in his knee during a drill at practice in Mansfield.

The boy's family said his coach was running a drill meant to teach the children how to avoid illegal tackles below the waist. As part of the drill, the coach "swung a full-sized tackling dummy horizontally toward players' legs and/or knees," the lawsuit states.

Ryan, now 12, has undergone physical therapy and had a couple of surgeries to repair the injury.

The Spence family is pushing for changes to the leagues practice policies and are suing for medical expenses.

"The family wants to see to it that nothing like this happens to someone else's child,"said Patrick Wigle, the family's attorney. "They want to prevent future injuries. Also, we feel like the North Texas Youth Association needs to be held responsible for what their coaches are doing, and hopefully there will be better supervision."

Wigle said Ryan's father was on the field as an assistant coach for the team during the incident.

Todd Mashaw, president of the North Texas Youth Football Association, said Ryan's mother e-mailed him several months after the incident asking for her son to be reinstated to the league without having to pay any league fees.

He said the association's executive board will meet Thursday night to decide how to respond to the lawsuit.

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