First-In-The-Nation Concussion Lawsuit Vs. IHSA Dismissed

Oct 28, 2015

Days after an Illinois high school student died from football injuries, a Cook County judge has dismissed a lawsuit alleging the sports' governing body didn't do enough to protect athletes.

There have been lawsuits against the NFL, but the one brought against the Illinois High School Association a year ago was the first class action suit against a prep sports governing body.

A former South Elgin High School lineman, Alex Pierscionek, says he suffers from memory loss after getting concussions in games; he alleges the IHSA fails to protect athletes.

The suit called for remedies, like a requirement that doctors or other medical staff be at every football game.

In dismissing the case, the judge says it was clear that the IHSA has "acted to protect student athletes in Illinois.

"We've limited contact in practices. We've eliminated full contact in the summer," IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman said. "We have a variety of rule changes that have gone in, in actual playing rules, that are designed to reduce contact and protect athletes."

Cook County Cirucit Court Judge LeRoy K. Martin Jr. also wrote that there's an inherent risk in playing football. His judicial order says it's up to the legislature - not the judiciary - to make laws. In August, the governor signed a new law requiring schools have plans to deal with concussions, and that athletes must get a doctor's okay before they can play again.

Pierscionek's attorney, Joe Siprut, did not immediately return a call requesting comment.

The suit's dismissal comes after a Chicago high school senior, Andre Smith, became the seventh football player in the U.S. to die this season. The Cook County Medical Examiner found he died of "blunt force head injuries."