Sampson Takes Stand in Super Bowl XLV Trial

Testimony continued Tuesday in the civil lawsuit of Severin Sampson, who is suing the Dallas Cowboys, the National Football League and three other entities for damages related to injuries he suffered during Super Bowl XLV.

An unprecedented ice storm coated the roof of then Cowboys Stadium - now known as AT&T Stadium - in 2011.

While preparations were underway for the football game, ice melted from the roof of the stadium and chunks of the ice hit Sampson, who was preparing for the halftime show. Sampson said he suffered physically and mentally as a result.

Sampson testified that he continues to suffer from tinnitus, a ringing in his ear so severe he told jurors he’s, “wondered if it wouldn’t be better to be deaf than have the constant ringing.”

Sampson said he’s been unable to work. He added that his injuries still affect his balance, which cause nausea. Sampson testified that he cannot lift weights over 10 pounds, climb ladders or work at any height due to his injuries.

Under cross examination, defense attorneys for the Dallas Cowboys got Sampson to admit he’d complained of tinnitus long before the ice incident.

During a deposition, Sampson testified to suffering ringing in his ears as a result of prescription medication for a dental procedure.

Sampson was also forced to admit that he signed a safety compliance agreement with his employer, Touchdown Entertainment, that included using only designated entrances and exits at the stadium while working and wearing proper safety equipment including a hard hat at all times.

Sampson admitted he was not wearing a hard hat when the falling ice hit him. He also testified that safety headgear was not provided for him by his employer.

Sampson addressed his marijuana use. He told jurors that he smokes from time to time, recreationally, for anxiety and to self-medicate as an alternative to prescription drugs.

Under direct questioning from his own attorney, Sampson admitted smoking marijuana the day before he was injured by falling ice. He denied being under the influence of drugs while at work.

The attorneys for the defendants have attempted to use Sampson’s marijuana use as part of a larger narrative about his choices and responsibilities.

Testimony will continue on Wednesday. Sampson could face several more days on the stand.  

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