A former high school football player and his family will receive millions of dollars after a civil suit settlement with a San Diego County school district over accusations of improper steps by the coaching staff to recognize and respond to concussion symptoms.
The suit stems from an October 2013 freshman football game at Grossmont Union School District's Monte Vista High School when 14-year-old Rashaun Council started feeling sick and confused.
A concerned teammate even told a coach about the star running and defensive back's odd behavior, but Council returned to the game and finished on the field according to his family's attorney.
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Council was slumped over and throwing up in the locker room after the game, according to attorney Brian Gonzalez, but the coaches never called 911 and he didn't receive proper medical care until the boy's father took him to the hospital.
Council's brain had already started to swell, requiring emergency surgery, and he was later placed in a medically induced coma.
After taking a year off for treatment, Council is now 19 years old and preparing to graduate from Clairemont High School, which has a program for traumatic brain injury survivors.
Gonzalez says Council will likely never be able to drive, live by himself or pursue the career of his dreams due to the confusion and forgetfulness caused by the injury.
"Because of the delay in diagnosis, the delay in treatments, he is forever going to be in the condition he is," said Gonzalez. "They continued to play him cause they wanted to win this game. That type of reality should never take the place of protecting our kids."
During the civil suit, Gonzalez discovered none of the freshman coaches on the 2013 Monte Vista Football Team had completed state-mandated concussion training because of a loophole that allowed them two years to complete it. He says the loophole is now closed and he hopes the story serves as a reminder to all youth coaches to take potential brain injuries very seriously.
According to a spokeswoman for the Grossmont Union High School District, the $7.125 million settlement is paid through the San Diego County Schools Risk Management Joint Powers Authority (JPA), of which it is a member.
The School Board ratified the settlement in March with a 5-0 vote.