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Friday, December 8, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Concussed Wrestler Loses Suit Against Idaho

(CN) - Idaho is not liable to a college wrestler who says his coaches kept him in a competition despite concussive symptoms, the state Supreme Court ruled.

While wrestling for the Boise State Broncos from 2007 to 2010, Samuel Zylstra signed a waiver each year releasing the university from liability in the event of injury.

In February 2010, Zylstra competed in the Pac-10 championship tournament. When an opponent slammed Zylstra's head into the mat, the Broncos coaches called a timeout, and trainer Andy Chorn examined Zylstra.

The concussion tests were negative, however, and Zylstra's dizziness passed. He finished the match.

Zylstra competed in four matches over the weekend, finishing fifth and qualifying for the NCAA tournament.

The student's headaches persisted, however, leading a doctor to diagnose him in March with a "significant concussion" and not clear him for the national tournament.

Zylstra sued Boise State University and Idaho for negligence under the Idaho Tort Claims Act that fall, but a judge in Ada County dismissed the action after granting Boise State partial summary judgment on the issue of causation.

In his appeal, Zylstra argued that the court should not have struck the affidavits of two of his expert witnesses as being submitted after the close of discovery. He said BSU was not prejudiced because it received the affidavits three months before trial.

The unanimous Idaho Supreme Court sided with the university on Wednesday.

"The record establishes that Zylstra was on clear notice of his obligation to produce sufficiently detailed expert-related discovery responses and that those responses needed to be provided before the close of discovery and the dispositive motions filing deadline," Justice Jesse Walters, who is filling in for ailing Justice Warren Jones, wrote for the court.

Zylstra failed to preserve his argument that the trial court was biased against him, according to the ruling.

"Zylstra never entered an objection or filed a motion for disqualification during the pre-trial proceedings," Walters wrote. "In the absence of a motion for disqualification, this court will not review this issue on appeal."

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