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SALT LAKE CITY — A former high school football player has sued the Cache County School District and the Utah High School Activities Association, alleging his coach told him to “man up” and keep playing in 2017 when he reported thinking he had a concussion.
Konnor Finn contends he sustained a traumatic brain injury that has forced him to deal with pain, blackouts and personality changes since he butted helmets with a teammate during practice two years ago. He is seeking at least $300,000 in damages.
“Konnor’s medical bills continue to accumulate and an exact amount to date has not been determined,” his attorneys say in the lawsuit filed Monday in Logan’s 1st District Court.
Finn, then a senior at Ridgeline High School, alleges his defensive line coach told him to “quit being a (expletive)” and “get back out there” on Oct. 11, 2017, according to the lawsuit. He said he felt he couldn’t go against the instructions.
Finn played in practices and games for another two weeks, sustaining other hits, before he was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and post-concussive syndrome on Oct. 25, 2017, the suit alleges.
He was admitted to Primary Children’s Hospital a week later and ultimately missed several months of school.
Finn contends he was first evaluated by a trainer after another coach spotted him in the weight room, observed that he didn’t look well and asked if he was OK. When Finn told him what happened, the coach replied that the defensive coach had been “wrong to make Konnor continue to play,” the suit alleges.
Since 2011, all high school coaches, including those in Cache County, have been trained to recognize concussion symptoms and are required to follow concussion protocol that includes a student athlete being cleared by medical personnel before returning to practices or competitions.
The suit alleges the association and the district failed to properly train the coaches. Cache County School District public information officer Tim Smith said all coaches are required to complete the training and background check required by the Utah State Board of Education and the Utah High School Activities Association.
“The district takes the safety of students very serious, and it’s our intent to comply with all of USBE and UHSAA rules and to follow the protocols, to make sure those students are safe,” he said.
Contributing: Amy Donaldson