Zachary Alt played football at Pittsburgh's Highlands High School until three successive concussions knocked him out the game.
Four years later, still suffering from the effects of those injuries, Alt has filed suit against Highlands High.
He is alleging that the school violated his constitutional rights by failing to protect him from further injuries and subsequently inflating his grades so he could graduate.
Within a one month period, high school sophomore Zachary Alt suffered from three concussions--none of which were properly evaluated by staff.
On his third hit, his team could tell that he was disoriented, but the coach sent him back into the game. Hit again, he was pulled and taken to the hospital, where the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports he was diagnosed with a substantial head injury.
After this third injury, the complaint alleges that Alt suffered from cognitive difficulties, behavioral problems, and physical manifestations of head trauma.
But when his parents requested reasonable accommodations from the school for testing purposes, the principal instead inflated his scores so that he could pass each grade.
Highlands High is not the first school to be sued for football-related injuries. But, as you're probably guessing, many of these lawsuits are dismissed because the students and their parents assumed the risks associated with the sport and signed off on most negligence claims.
However, for policy reasons, the law does not allow people to contract out of gross negligence, which means that deliberate, egregious negligence, as is alleged here, can still be litigated despite a waiver.
- Highlands grad's football concussion spurs suit (Pitssburgh Tribune-Review)
- Gross Negligence (FindLaw)
- $7.5 Million in Settlement Compensation to Football Player (FindLaw's Injured)
- Parents Sue Man for Gross Negligence during 'Ding Dong Ditch' Game (FindLaw's Legally Weird)