By: Allan M. Siegel
Bowling Green State University will pay $712,500 to settle claims made
by a former football player who alleged the school’s football staff
failed to remove him from practice after he suffered multiple concussions.
Cody Silk, an offensive lineman, alleged that the Ohio-based university’s
medical staff and coaches negligently failed to diagnose two concussions
and allowed him to participate in full-contact practice, when he suffered
a third concussion. After the third concussion, Silk was medically disqualified
from the Falcons football during his freshman year and eventually lost
The recent settlement, which the Ohio Court of Claims approved, brings
to a close Silk’s lawsuit, which he originally initiated in 2012.
The court had initially rejected Silk’s claims because he signed
a liability release with the school prior to playing on the football team.
The school argued Silk assumed the risk of suffering debilitating traumatic
brain injuries. Silk’s attorneys filed a motion to reconsider this
ruling, arguing that the liability release document did not cover “wanton
and willful misconduct.”
Judge Patrick McGrath granted Silk’s motion to reconsider, which
provided Silk with the opportunity to submit evidence that BGSU’s
behavior rose to the level of “wanton and willful” and, alternatively,
that the release was prohibited by public policy.
In preparation for trial, Dr. Robert Cantu evaluated Silk. Dr. Cantu was
deposed and testified that, in his opinion, Silk suffers permanent post-concussive
syndrome because of BGSU’s negligent conduct. Dr. Cantu is a senior
advisor for the NFL’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee and also a
co-director at Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic
After being cut from the football team, Silk attempted to continue his
education. Because of cognitive problems caused by the concussions, Silk
was unable to complete his education. At times, Silk could not even remember
his name or where he parked his car. According to his allegations against
the school, the concussions still cause Silk to suffer from migraines,
anxiety, depression, and causes difficulty sleeping.
Silk’s case demonstrates that sports participants who suffer avoidable
brain injuries have valid claims against institutions and organizations that could have
prevented these injuries. At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel,
P.C., our team of attorneys and legal professionals have extensive experience
representing victims of brain injuries. Partner Ira Sherman is a member
of the Board of Directors for the Brain Injury Association of America
and an active member of the Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group of
the American Association for Justice. Partner Joseph Cammarata drafted
legislation – the DC Youth Athletic Concussion Protection Act -
to better protect young players from brain injuries, which became law
in the District of Columbia in 2011. Sherman and Cammarata formed the
Brain Injury Association of DC to provide resources and help for those
impacted by brain injuries. In addition to these activities, our law firm
has also established a track record of securing notable verdicts and settlements
on behalf of brain injury victims.