Parents Sue School District

September 17, 2018

Last week, the parents of Connor Martin, a high school student who appeared to suffer a concussion while playing football two years ago, filed a lawsuit against the Hermiston (Ore.) School District, alleging that its failure to treat the concussion resulted in their son suffering permanent brain damage.

According to Oregon Live, in September 2016, Martin experienced a helmet-to-helmet collision during a j.v. football game. Two hours later, Martin's mother found him “curled up in the fetal position on the couch, sobbing because of a severe headache.” She says he threw up and was unable to walk without falling.

The district’s athletic trainer cleared the teen to play four days later, despite lingering symptoms of concussion, the suit says. In an October game, Martin then hit his head repeatedly and was knocked unconscious.

Martin, now 17, suffers from balance problems, headaches, light sensitivity, and brain damage, resulting in him being unable to return to school full time, according to the lawsuit. Martin's attorneys say that he cannot safely bowl, hunt or swim, pastimes Martin previously enjoyed, and that he will likely never be able to drive a car.

The lawsuit alleges that the district violated Max's Law by sending Martin back to the game despite him having been suspected of suffering a concussion, and he was only removed when he was disoriented and unable to remember plays. It also alleges that Martin was not cleared by a medical professional to return to football practice and games. The suit seeks $13 million for Martin's medial bills, therapy and assisted living expenses, and $25 million for his pain and suffering.

The district declined to comment on the case for legal and privacy reasons, and instead released a statement.

"Our focus is always on the safety and emotional well-being of our students and in providing them a first-class education," reads the statement. "If there are lessons to be learned from this or any other situation we will apply them with that focus in mind."

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