Two former Ridgeline High School football coaches have been dismissed from a concussion lawsuit against the Cache County School District, the Utah High School Activities Association and the coaches.
According to documents filed with the 1st District Court on Friday, coaches Christopher and Stuart Howell have been dismissed from the case in accordance with a stipulated motion filed with the court on April 30.
Documents filed with the court state “because Plaintiff has failed to state a claim against them for which relief can be granted,” it was requested the court dismiss the action against the coaches personally. Under Utah’s Governmental Immunity Act, coaches are exempt from personal liability “except under very rare situations” that did not apply in this case.
According to the suit filed in October 2019, Konnor Finn, a then-senior football player at Ridgeline, experienced a helmet-to-helmet collision during practice on Oct. 11, 2017. Finn complained of concussion symptoms to Stuart, who, plaintiffs allege, told him to “man up,” “quit being a (expletive)” and “get back out there.”
The lawsuit states Finn felt unable to defy the coach’s instructions, which led to additional full-body hits for the next two weeks of football games and practice. Another coach noticed that Finn didn’t look well in the weight room and had a concussion evaluation performed.
After further evaluation at a local clinic, Finn was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and post-concussive syndrome. The lawsuit states Finn was admitted to a medical center for treatment 20 days after the initial blow. As a result, the lawsuit states, Finn has experienced seizures and pain severe enough to render him unconscious, and he requires various continued treatment.
The lawsuit alleged the coaches breached their duties in several ways, including not following concussion protocols and “failing to act responsibly and failing to exercise ordinary care.”
The lawsuit seeks damages upward of $300,000.