BELLEVILLE, Ill. (CN) – An improperly maintained helmet contributed to a high school football player’s permanent brain damage, the student’s mom claims in St. Clair County Court.
Demond Hunt Jr. broke a blood vessel in his brain while playing for East St. Louis High on Oct. 3, 2008. Hunt, who was 16, suffered several strokes on the sidelines, was in a coma for two weeks and was hospitalized for five weeks, his mom says.
Hunt’s mother, Shanai McLorn, claims the East St. Louis School District and football coach Darren Sunkett gave Hunt a defective helmet. She says air bellows in the helmet were not properly inflated.
McLorn claims that coach Sunkett created an atmosphere in which injuries were not reported or were underreported by embarrassing injured players. She says Sunkett ordered her son to play in the game even though he complained of a headache and showed signs of a concussion.
McLorn says that in June 2008 Sunkett ordered Hunt to tackle another player while neither was wearing protective equipment, resulting in a broken collarbone for Hunt and a broken neck for the other player.
She seeks $200,000 for past medical expenses and undetermined damages to cover further damages.
East St. Louis won the Class 7 Illinois state football championship last season. Sunkett also won a Missouri state football title as head coach of Riverview Gardens in the late 1990s.