Football player’s brain injury sparks lawsuit against Hillsborough County School District

The parents of a high school football player have filed a lawsuit against the Hillsborough County School District over a brain injury sustained by their son.

In October 2013, Sean McNamee, a Wharton High School student, was injured during a game of catch with his teammates before football practice. McNamee jumped for a pass and struck his head on a machine used to paint lines on the field. He was able to drive himself home after the incident, but later spent nine days at Florida Hospital in a medically induced coma to reduce brain swelling.

The lawsuit accuses the school district of failing to provide proper medical care after the injury and of failing to notify the boy’s parents. The family is seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, lost companionship and other damages.

The medical expenses incurred by the family total more than $200,000, which is the maximum payout authorized for agencies like school districts under Florida law.

The school district previously stated that McNamee was escorted off the field to speak to a trainer after the injury, but attorneys for the family said that video footage from the field shows that McNamee was left unattended for minutes at a time and was permitted to leave school unsupervised. According to the family’s attorneys, the school district was negligent in failing to follow a protocol for head injuries.

Florida ranked as most dangerous state for bicyclists and pedestrians

Studies show that Florida is the most dangerous state for pedestrians and bicyclists.

A study by Governing magazine found that four of the five cities with the highest per capita pedestrian fatality rates are in Florida. This follows an earlier study by Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition that ranked the top four deadliest cities in the country for pedestrians as Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami. 

The Tampa Bay area recorded 403 deaths in five years, the highest pedestrian fatality rate in the country.

The League of American Bicyclists compiled data on bicyclist fatalities and found Florida to be the deadliest state for bicyclists as well. Florida’s rate of 21.7 bicyclist fatalities per 10,000 bicycle commuters is nearly double the rate of Arizona, the next closest state.

According to researchers, the danger originates in part from an automobile-based, suburban-sprawl pattern of development, which is more common in the Sunbelt communities, which saw rapid post-war growth. Low-density neighborhoods connected by wide streets allow cars to move faster, but they are often not designed with pedestrians and bicyclists in mind.

Researchers said that action by transportation officials, such as installing bike lanes and illuminating crosswalks, can have a positive impact on reducing fatalities.