Florida school board agrees to pay settlement to football player with brain injury

The Hillsborough County School Board agreed to settle a lawsuit by an injured high school football player and his family. The school board will pay $2 million to settle the brain injury lawsuit.

The 16-year-old was not wearing a helmet when he hit his head on a paint machine during football practice in Oct. 2013. The Wharton High School student was warming up in drills. After the incident, he was in a coma for nine days, and doctors told his family he might not survive. The student has now recovered to some extent, but will have long-term medical issues, his family said.

Under the terms of the $2 million settlement, $300,000 will be paid to the family immediately, and the school board will support a claim bill in the Florida Legislature for the rest of the funds. Under state law, a claim bill is necessary for any settlement amount over $300,000.

In addition to the financial settlement, the school district also committed to training staff members in how to prevent and treat injuries to the head. A new set of procedures will be put in place, establishing what must be done whenever a head injury is suspected. The protocol will be reviewed and updated annually, and could serve as a model for schools across Florida.