Jury Finds Helmet-Maker Not Liable for High School Player's Severe Brain Injury

Edward Acuna's lawsuit against Riddell Inc. was filed after a helmet-to-helmet hit four years ago left the then-17-year-old football player injured

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Rob Marmion

    A football helmet-maker is not liable for a severe brain injury suffered by a Southern California high school player in a helmet-to-helmet hit during a game four years ago, a jury decided Thursday.

    The ruling involves a lawsuit filed by the family of Garey High School football player Edward Acuna -- 17 at the time of the injury -- against helmet-maker Riddell Inc. Jurors determined Thursday that the Riddell Revolution helmet Acuna was wearing could not have been expected to prevent the injury, which left him partially paralyzed and brain damaged.

    Attorneys for the promising defensive lineman argued that the technology exists to make better helmets that might have helped him. They claimed a high density vinyl nitrile padding would have provided more protection than the helmet's polyeurethane material.

    But attorneys for Illinois-based Riddell countered that the helmet "performs better than any standard that exists in the world," according to the Los Angeles Times. The company's website includes a warning that "no helmet can prevent serious head or neck injuries a player might receive while participating in football."

    Acuna appeared in court Thursday, the Times reported

    Once thought of as an unavoidable consequence of a violent game, football head injuries resulting from helmet-to-helmet contact have become a focus of the NFL. The league reached a settlement with thousands of ex-NFLers last year who suffered concussions during their careers.

    But a judge ruled that the $765 million settlement might not be adequate to cover the needs of 20,000 retired players and their families.

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