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The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Your trusted legal advisors since 1976

Wrongful Death Filed Over Death Of High School Football Player


The mother of a high school football player who died during practice has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the school and county after delays in treatment are believed to have prevented lifesaving intervention. The player had a history of asthma at the time. While coaches called 911, there was a delay in finding the practice after coaches failed to tell the EMTs the practice had been moved. This resulted in a 26-minute delay during which the boy struggled to breathe. Eventually, he lost consciousness and was pronounced dead at the hospital. He was only 15 years of age at the time of his death.

The player has a twin brother who continues to play football and has since committed to Baylor’s football program.

Proving the case 

Surveillance footage of the gym shows that the coaches waited 26 minutes before contacting EMS and then moved the practice while their player was in distress resulting in further delays. For obvious reasons, the plaintiffs will claim that they did not prioritize an injured player who later lost his life. Since all of this is on camera, the coaches will get to see themselves in the final moments before their student died organizing their practice and ignoring the boy.

Video shows that the players were running conditioning drills and the player had stopped several times to catch his breath. At some point, one of his teammates alerted coaches to the player’s condition and asked for help. It was obvious that the player was having trouble breathing. At 5:19, the player was checked by a trainer who did not call 911. One minute later, the player’s mother called the assistant coach and told him to call an ambulance if his condition did not improve with rest. The athletic trainer did not call 911. Instead, an icepack was placed on his back and shoulders. At 5:26, the boy collapsed. Two minutes elapsed before 911 was contacted. First responders headed out to the football field where they believed the boy had collapsed. They were never told that the practice had been moved to the gym because of heat concerns. He was finally found at 5:37. By the time he had reached the hospital at 5:59, his heart had stopped.

Understanding the allegations 

The teen had a known asthma condition, but it looks like the trainer thought he had suffered from heatstroke and administered ice. This, of course, did not work because the teen was not overheated. Rather, he could not get enough air into his body to meet his body’s needs. Eventually, he suffocated as a result of the misdiagnosis and delays in treatment even after the mother had asked an assistant coach to call an ambulance if his condition worsened.

In this case, the negligence falls on the coaches because they have a duty to ensure the safety of their players and failed in that duty of care. Now, a 15-year-old boy is dead. This death was preventable.

Talk to a Tampa Personal Injury Attorney Today 

The Matassini Law Firm files lawsuits on behalf of those injured by negligence. Call our Tampa personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and we can begin preparing your claim immediately.


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