01.03.17

Mother Files a Lawsuit against a Football Helmet Manufacturer

Posted in Products Liability at 5:15 pm by kevin

Almost a year after the demise of her son, a mother sues a helmet manufacturing company Ridell and the Chicago Board of Education. Currently the administrator of her son’s estate, Jeanine Smith filed a wrongful death lawsuit, early October this year, at the Cook County circuit court.

The suit included four counts against Ridell and two counts against the board of education with the family seeking to get awarded unspecified amount of money if they win the case while Brion Doherty of the Chicago firm Motherway & Napleton, LLP represents Smith family.

Andre Smith was a 17-year old football player at Bogan High School when he died from a blunt force trauma to the head. It was on Oct 22, 2015 while playing football at Stagg Stadium in Southside, Chicago when the teenager, whose team was playing against Chicago Vocational, when another player struck him during a kickoff return play.

A first, the fall did not really appear fatal as Smith was able to get up right after he fell to the ground. After the incident, he complained of a headache and became unconscious. The young school athlete was rushed to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and unfortunately, was not able to regain his consciousness. The incident happened on a Thursday night and he died Friday morning.

According to the six-count lawsuit, Ridell failed to include in its guidelines that the Revolution Speed helmet worn by Smith and his team mates is potentially dangerous if the air bladders inside lack proper inflation.

Allegations also included that the air bladders were supposed to protect the head of the wearer from injuries. As for the suit filed against the board of education, it alleges that the board should have been aware that the air bladders were not inflated enough when worn by the players and should not have allowed Smith and the other football players to wear the helmets in the first place.

According to reports, during the kickoff, Smith tried to tackle another player receiving the kickoff but was blocked from the left side of his helmet. Considered to be as “incidental contact” between the two players, Smith fell on the ground. While he was complaining from dizziness and headache, the young man started to have seizures and became unresponsive even after he was rushed to a local hospital. His CT scan revealed swelling and bleeding near the brain.

According to court records, the helmet worn by Andre Smith was found defective after the air bladder at the crown lost half of the air pressure just five minutes after being inflated and air bladder located at the rear lost almost 10 percent of air pressure just after 10 minutes.

Before Smith transferred to Bogan High School and joined the football team in 2015 when the season started, he studied at Rich Central High School in Olympia Fields. He was staying with a family friend in Chicago while his mother and stepdad were living in County Club Hills.

Meanwhile, Ridell declined to comment about the ongoing litigation while the Chicago Board of Education has yet to reply after a message was sent to them a week earlier.