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Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Back issues
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Two Plays, Two Concussions, H.S. Player Says

PHILADELPHIA (CN) - A high school football coach sent a player back into a game after he had been knocked out and suffered a concussion - and he was knocked out again on the next play, the now-19-year-old man claims in court.

William Croce sued the West Chester School District in Federal Court.

The school district is the only defendant.

Croce claims that on Oct. 25, 2010, while playing on the JV team as an offensive lineman, he "hit his block and blacked out for a second on the field."

"While on the field, after he came to, plaintiff grasped his head with both hands due to the severe pain he was experiencing in his head," according to the complaint.

Croce came off the field and told his coaches his head hurt. But "at no time did Coach Richards or any member of the coaching or training staff examine plaintiff to determine whether he needed medical attention or even to determine if he had a concussion," the lawsuit states.

"Instead, near the end of the game, Coach Richards reinserted plaintiff into the game on a kickoff as a member of the special teams ... and on that immediate play he was again knocked unconscious."

Croce claims that special teams play "is universally known to the entire football community as producing the most violent collisions between players," and that the NFL has changed its rules to try to reduce the number of high speed collisions after kickoffs.

Over the next several days, Croce developed typical symptoms of concussion, including nausea, dizziness, headaches and difficulty sleeping.

He saw his doctor and "failed all balance and concussion tests and his doctors were unable to find his retina," according to the complaint.

He visited a concussion specialist and "was placed on brain rest until mid-December when finally he was cleared to meet with a tutor one to two hours at a time."

Croce claims the school district refused to give him an individual education plan, as his doctors recommended, and his grades suffered as a result.

He seeks $100,000 in damages for state-created danger and assault and battery. He says he can no longer wear contact lenses, and struggles with concentration, reading and computer work.

Croce is represented by Gregory Stagliano of Media, Penn.

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