BOISE, Idaho (CN) – The legal fight over concussions has spread to college, where a former Boise State wrestler claims his coaches insulted him for refusing to wrestle in the NCAA championships after suffering a head injury.
Samuel Zylstra sued Boise State University and the State of Idaho, in Ada County Court.
Zylstra, a 285-lb. heavyweight, says he was injured during the first round of the Pac-10 Championships, at UC-Davis, on Feb. 26, 2010.
Zylstra says his opponent from Oregon State threw him, and he landed on his head and briefly lost consciousness.
Zylstra, who was on full scholarship for the ROTC program, said Boise State trainers and coaches “allowed (him) to wrestle additional matches on February 26 and February 27.”
By Feb. 27, he says, his “vision was significantly impaired and he suffered from a headache.” He says he “suffered multiple concussions after his loss of consciousness in the first match.”
The complaint continues: “On his return to Boise following the Pac-10 meet, plaintiff suffered a variety of painful and frightening symptoms of concussion, including severe bleeding, headaches, cognitive impairment and memory loss.
“Plaintiff was insulted and criticized by his coaches and teammates for refusing to participate in the upcoming NCAA Championships.
“Following the Pac-10 meet, plaintiff’s school performance deteriorated badly.
“Following the Pac-10 meet, his performance in ROTC activities suffered badly.
“Due to his injuries, the plaintiff dropped out of school, was dropped from the ROTC program and discharged from the Army Reserve.
“Plaintiff’s behavior became very erratic, including uncharacteristic bursts of anger.”
Zylstra claims he still suffers from emotional, cognitive, mental, psychological and physical ailments.
“Through the acts and/or omissions of BSU’s trainer and coaches, acting within the course and scope of their employment, defendants breached that duty by instructing and/or allowing plaintiff to continue wrestling following the suspension of action in his first match and further breached that duty by instructing and/or allowing him to wrestle throughout the remainder of the championships on February 26 and February 27,” the complaint states.
Zylstra claims that allowing him to continue wrestling under the circumstances “constituted a substantial departure from the standard of care constituting gross negligence.”
Boise State, a perennial wrestling powerhouse, recently hosted the 2012 Pac-12 Championships, finishing in second place, with 129 points, Oregon State, which scored 138.
Zylstra seeks damages for negligence and gross negligence.
He is represented by Geoffrey Swindler, of Spokane, Wash.