Woman Sues Nebraska Coach's Foundation
(CN) - A 66-year-old woman claims in court that she suffered brain injuries during a drill at a "Football 101" camp for women founded by University of Nebraska head football coach Bo Pelini.
Beverly Morgan sued the Bo Pelini Foundation and volunteer coach Tim Beck in Lancaster County Court, Lincoln, Neb.
The Bo Pelini Foundation, founded by Cornhuskers head football coach Bo Pelini and his wife in 2008, organizes and sponsors an annual football clinic for women called "Football 101," according to the complaint.
Morgan says she was injured in a gauntlet drill in June 2010, in which she ran through two columns of women with blocking pads, who tried to knock the ball out of her hands.
"The women with the pads were encouraged by defendant Beck and/or others in charge of the drill to 'Hit her!' as the ball carrier attempted to get through the gauntlet line," the complaint states.
"Plaintiff, before June 2, 2010, was unfamiliar with football other than as a Cornhusker fan."
Morgan says she asked Beck how to hold the ball, that she showed her to hold it with her arms crossed at her chest, and gave no other warnings or instructions about the drill.
"Plaintiff held the ball as shown by defendant Beck, took one or two steps and was struck by one or both of the women at the front of the gauntlet lines so hard she was knocked off her feet, hitting the back of her head on the Hawk's Championship Training Center floor causing her cap and earrings to fly off," the complaint states. "Plaintiff experienced immediate headache, became nauseated, and her right foot was dragging. Defendant Beck and a woman helped plaintiff to a chair on the sidelines and left. Another individual came over to plaintiff and told her someone on the medical staff would come by to check on her. No one did. Plaintiff did not participate in any further drills."
Morgan says she suffered a traumatic brain injury, a subdural hematoma that required brain surgery, and a right rotator cuff injury that required surgery to repair tendons.
She claims the defendants offered "a dangerous activity to unsuspecting participants and knew or should have known the participants would not understand or appreciate the dangers," and that they "failed to warn participants of the dangers of the gauntlet drill and, in fact, escalated the danger by encouraging aggressive physical contact."
She claims they "failed to provide participants with proper equipment, e.g., helmets, when they knew of the potential dangers associated with head trauma."
The Bo Pelini Foundation supports nonprofit diabetes and cancer organizations, and programs for disadvantaged children, particularly in Nebraska, according to its website.
Morgan seeks punitive damages for negligence.
She is represented by Robert Kinsey with Kinsey Rowe in Lincoln.