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Atlanta schools watching wrongful death suit by player's mom

Atlanta colleges with athletic programs were watching closely a lawsuit filed by a grieving mother against the National Collegiate Athletic Association and a football helmet maker after her athlete son died of brain injuries received in practices. In addition to the high-speed contact drills required by the football coach, the suit singles out product failure in the helmets made by Schutt Sports as a cause of her son's death. The 22-year-old had been a two-time all-conference senior at Frostburg State University in Maryland.

Named in the lawsuit were Frostburg State's head football coach, an assistant football coach and an assistant trainer for requiring the contact drills that the suit called gladiatorial. Frostburg State itself was not named as a party. The player's mother's legal action centers around the claim that, in preseason practices, her son was wearing a helmet that was improperly fitted. She said in the lawsuit that Schutt deceived players and university administrators when they made the claim that their helmets could prevent head injuries. She also claimed that the company did not adequately test the helmets and that they didn't reduce or minimize forceful impacts.

With this inadequate helmet, the player's mother alleges in the suit, her son was subjected to unlimited, full-contact, dangerous helmet-to-helmet collisions. Thirteen hours of constant head-to-head contact drills, she claimed, seriously increased the risk of concussions and repetitive head trauma for the players, including her son. The drills required by the coaches were called extremely dangerous, intolerable and meaningless by teams in the National Football League.

Nothing can make up for the loss of a loved one after a wrongful death. However, an Atlanta attorney with experience in helping families may be able to arrange compensation for medical costs, funeral expenses and other damages.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Mother Blames College Football Coaches & NCAA for Son's Death", Jonny Bonner, September 05, 2013

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