Former JU football player suing school over handling of concussions

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A former Jacksonville University football player is suing the university and its head athletic trainer over the mistreatment of concussions he sustained while playing for the Dolphins.

The multi-million dollar lawsuit alleges Jarrius Lindsey, who played for JU from 2011-13, is experiencing long-term brain damage because of misconduct from JU and head athletic trainer Doug Frye.

Lindsey played for JU from 2011-13, and suffered a concussion during a spring scrimmage in 2012. The lawsuit states Lindsey was lying motionless on the field after a collision with a teammate, which can be seen on video. Lindsey blacked out because of the hit and was helped off the field.

The lawsuit claims Frye incorrectly administered a concussion checklist, which is designed to develop a baseline for testing an athlete. The test require five trials to find the baseline, but Frye only conducted the test twice, according to court filings.

Lindsey was tested several times over the next month and had not returned to his baseline levels. Frye referred Lindsey to an orthopedic and team physician where a doctor noted his symptoms of headaches and fogginess had improved but still existed.

After the Concussion Vital Signs Post Injury Report was written, no further baseline tests were administered before Lindsey was cleared to play. Lindsey and his parents were not told of any risks of returning to play football by Frye, according to court filings.

Court filings allege JU staff would have noticed that Lindsey’s brain hadn’t returned to normal if proper tests and procedures were carried out.

Lindsey suffered another concussion at a JU football practice in Aug. 2012 and was given another test, similar to the concussion checklist, by Frye. The lawsuit maintains more tests were available to the training staff in both situations but were not utilized. This time, Lindsey was not referred to a specialist, and was cleared to play.

A shoulder injury in Sept. ended Lindsey’s season, and surgery sidelined him until the next fall. Over the next several months, Lindsey continued to experience headaches and depression.

Lindsey was told to get back into a game by an equipment manager after he was involved in a collision with another player during an away game in Sept. 2013. After the game, he had headaches, a difficult time focusing in class and a loss of appetite.

A similar injury occurred at a home game the next week and Lindsey was told by Frye nothing was wrong with him and to get back into the game. Lindsey refused.

Once again, Lindsey was referred to an orthopedic surgeon who recommended he no longer play contact sports.

Court filings show Lindsey must be supervised because he’s forgetful and easily distracted.

The lawsuit accuses JU and Frye of negligence, and Jacksonville University Sports Medicine of vicarious liability.

Jacksonville University released this statement:

"It is the policy of Jacksonville University not to comment on any pending legal matters. The safety and welfare of students is of the highest importance to Jacksonville University, both for our student-athletes and for our general population. We take very seriously all issues related to the health, safety and well-being of our athletes, both on and off the field. Our outstanding professional personnel are highly skilled with many hours of preparatory training to ensure that safety is the No. 1 priority. They maintain a student-centered focus on safety at all times, in all aspects of their duties and responsibilities."