The nation’s first class-action lawsuit against a state sports governing body, the Illinois High School Association (“IHSA”), was recently dismissed by Cook County Judge Leroy Martin Jr. The Plaintiffs in the case, who filed suit on behalf of players, wanted court supervision over how high schools manage football head injuries. The suit also sought the IHSA to pay for medical testing of former high school football players extending as far back as 2002.
Judge Martin stated that it was clear that the IHSA did not have a “direct relationship” to football or to the Plaintiffs and that the IHSA had worked hard to protect student athletes. Furthermore, the judge explained that the potential impact on the sport could be devastating, “[i]mposing broader liability on this defendant would certainly change the sport of football and potentially harm it or cause it to be abandoned.”
Alex Pierscionek, a South Elgin High School lineman from 2010 to 2014 is the lead Plaintiff in the lawsuit. He alleges he still suffers memory loss from concussions he received while playing high school football. One of the concussions led to him being airlifted to an area hospital.
The IHSA oversees approximately 50,000 football players at hundreds of Illinois high schools each year.
Author: Jonathan M. Feinstein