A jury determined that football helmet manufacturer Riddell was not responsible for a stroke suffered by a Mississippi high school football player.
In 2006, a ninth grade student suffered the stroke at a school-sponsored ninth-grade football practice. In the lawsuit, it was claimed that the helmet pushed on the student's neck, causing damage to an artery, which led to the stroke, reports The Associated Press.
After a five-day trial, the Mississippi jury unanimously held that Riddell was not liable for the student's injuries.
Riddell is one of the providers of helmets to the NFL as well as many colleges and high schools. The company is currently making headlines as one of the defendants in the NFL concussion lawsuits. In those cases, it is claimed that the football helmets do not provide adequate protection to players, leading to brain and concussion injuries.
Similarly, in the Mississippi case, the parents of the student also claimed that the football helmet did not prevent the student’s injury. However, the jury disagreed with the plaintiffs’ claim and found that the football helmet manufacturer could not be held liable for all injuries sustained in a violent sport, reports BusinessWire.
Generally, in a product liability lawsuit, the plaintiff has to claim that a product was defectively made or designed and did not perform as it was advertised. While it is true that football helmets are made (and marketed) to protect football players from injury, the Mississippi jury signaled that there is no way that a single product can protect against all possible football injuries.
The student suffered a stroke as a result of the helmet damaging his artery. This type of injury is relatively rare, when you consider that football players are routinely concussed. As a result, Riddell basically had the winning argument that accidents simply happen and that players will be injured playing a violent game.