CHICAGO (CN) – A student at St. Ignatius College Prep was paralyzed when two water sport coaches forced him to dive into a pool while team members threw equipment and snowballs at him, his family says in Cook County Court.
Christopher Connolly was a first-year student and on the junior varsity water polo team when his coaches and teammates hazed him, his parents say. They say the assistant coach, Michael Prescott, nicknamed Connolly “Flounder,” which was meant to be “a derogatory name.”
The Connolly family says that in February 2007, St. Ignatius’ junior varsity water polo coach, Luis Martinez, ordered Connolly into the pool and Prescott demanded that the other students throw buoys and kickboards at him. Connolly, attempting to dive “while also avoiding the barrage of pool equipment and snowballs,” hit the bottom of the pool, which “rendered him a quadriplegic,” the family says.
St. Ignatius had a hazing policy issued by the National Federation of High School sports, which claimed that no student, teacher or employee “shall permit, condone or tolerate hazing,” according to the complaint.
The family named only St. Ignatius College Prep as a defendant. The Connollys are represented by Steven Greenberger.