Jacksonville University and Head Athletic Trainer Failed to Properly Evaluate, Monitor and Follow Acceptable Guidelines Regarding Player Safety
Trial attorney Willie Gary of the Stuart, Florida-based law firm of Gary, Williams, Parenti, Watson & Gary, P.L.L.C., and attorney Charles Emanuel of the Orlando, Florida-based The Emanuel Firm, filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit on behalf of Jacksonville University football star, Jarrius Lindsey. Lindsey was a scholar-athlete recruited by Jacksonville University to play football from 2011 – 2013. During the spring 2012 football season, Lindsey participated in a scrimmage game, in which he sustained a concussion after a significant blow to the head by a teammate defender. Video of the collision shows Lindsey lying motionless on the field following the hit. He subsequently blacked out and suffered a life-threatening concussion. After the 2012 concussion, Lindsey was allowed to return to play and suffered multiple subsequent concussions. The lawsuit was recently filed in Duval County Circuit Court against Jacksonville University, the Jacksonville Sports Medicine Program and Doug Frye, the Head Certified Athletic Trainer for Jacksonville University Football.
The lawsuit details a series of flagrant violations, misconduct and negligence of Jacksonville University and Head Athletic Trainer Doug Frye that caused Jarrius Lindsey to suffer long-term brain damage, including diagnosis of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) from concussion, Major Neurocognitive
Disorder due to TBI, memory loss, insomnia, inability to concentrate, headaches, depression and anxiety.
Among other things, the lawsuit contends that Frye incorrectly administered the Concussion Checklist test that was developed to assess the injured athlete’s mental status during the acute period after a concussion. The results of the test indicated that Lindsey had not returned to baseline status. Furthermore, the post-injury report detailed that Lindsey was having a difficult time responding to questions and his overall reaction time was delayed. The lawsuit argues that despite Lindsey’s repeated complaints of headaches, Frye never referred or recommended that Lindsey see a neurologist or a neuropsychologist for evaluation.
Despite the history of Lindsey’s concussions, injuries and reported headaches, which were disclosed at the time he was recruited to play for Jacksonville University, Frye never attempted to look further into the severity of his injuries. Frye ultimately released Lindsey to return to play in practice and games. Gary and team contend that had Frye properly evaluated and monitored Lindsey through the use of proper and adequate post-concussion testing, Frye would Frye would have recognized that Lindsey had not recovered from the brain injury. Additionally, Frye did not counsel or discuss with Lindsey or his parents, the risk of returning to play given his history of concussions. In September of 2012, in a Jacksonville University home football game, Lindsey suffered a shoulder injury, which required surgery and ended his football career.
“Jacksonville University took a calculated risk by not implementing the necessary safety precautions for student-athletes,” commented Willie Gary. “As a result of their negligence, this young man will never be able to fully enjoy life. For the remainder of his years, he will suffer from a traumatic brain injury, memory loss, excruciating pain throughout his body, headaches, depression and anxiety. There is no amount of money that will ever be able to replace his quality of life, but we hope that our pursuit of justice will force Jacksonville University to stop putting the lives of their student-athletes at-risk,” continued Gary.
Attorney Willie E. Gary and team are no strangers to seeking justice. Mr. Gary and his legal team are known for taking on some of the nation’s most powerful corporate giants. In 2014, a jury awarded Gary an unprecedented $23.6 billion verdict against RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company. In 1995, a jury awarded Gary and his legal team a record-breaking, half-billion dollars against one of the world’s largest funeral chains, The Loewen Group. In addition, Gary is noted for winning a $240 million jury verdict in Orange County against the Walt Disney Corporation for his clients who alleged that Disney stole their idea for a sports theme park. In 2001, a jury awarded Gary a $139.6 million verdict for the Maris Distributing Company against Anheuser Busch.