Former football player sues Quebec university for injuries
A Manitoba man and his family have filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against a Quebec university for allegedly putting him back on the football field after he displayed symptoms of a concussion.
In 2011, Kevin Kwasny was 21 years old, 220 lbs. (99.7 kg.), had a girlfriend and attended Bishop’s University on a four-year scholarship. But an injury during a game on Sept. 10, 2011 took him out of the game permanently.
On the day of his injury, he complained of a bad headache from a hit and came off the field, said Kwasny. When his replacement also got injured, Kwasny said he was put back on the field and hit again.
A few minutes later, he was on a stretcher bound for surgery to remove blood from his head.
"I was unconscious, in a coma for two whole weeks,” said Kwasny. “I started only getting movement in my left side and my right side was stagnant.”
Kwasny's family claims it wasn't until after he threw up and his teammates saw him collapse in the dressing room that he got medical attention.
Kwasny is in care Monday to Friday, and returns to his parents’ home every Friday for weekend therapy appointments. Lifting the right side of his body is a strain.
He has a titanium plate in his skull to relieve pressure on his brain, he said.
He and his family have now filed a $7.5 million lawsuit against the university. In the statement, they claim the coaches - and therefore the university - failed to asses Kwasny for signs of confusion, use proper concussion assessment tools, and remove him from the game and prevent him returning to the field.
"If you blow out a knee, blow out an ankle, you’re taken out of the game and you’re taken to hospital, it's not a case of the coach can't see what's going on behind the helmet, damage is being done,” said Kwasny’s lawyer, James Kagan.
Bishop’s University issued a statement saying:
“Bishop's has thoroughly reviewed the events of the day and the processes that were followed. From the moment the sports medicine team and coaching staff became aware of a potential injury they took all necessary precautions to ensure Kevin received immediate medical care.”
The $7.5 million is meant to look after Kwasny’s future, said his father Greg. "Costs spent, costs going to be spent, things like that,” he said.
The family is renovating their home so Kwasny can move up and down stairs once he returns home. The Learjet flight home from Quebec cost $21,000, and Kwasny requires almost 24-hour care.
“It's doubtful he's going to have a job that’s going to pay, make a livelihood," said Greg.
Kwasny’s lawyer doesn’t expect the lawsuit will be settled out of court, and it could take up to two years for the case to wind its way through the courts.
- With a report by Beth Macdonell