WEST MIFFLIN (KDKA) — A former local high school football player has filed a lawsuit, claiming his school and the league didn’t do enough to protect him from a dangerous head injury.
The suit was filed on behalf of 23-year-old Shane Skillpa against the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Association, WPIAL and West Mifflin High School.
They claim Skillpa received a serious head injury at practice, was never treated and continued to practice.
High school football is king in western Pennsylvania. That’s why Skillpa worked so hard to become a member of the 2009 West Mifflin High School football team.
But the lawsuit claims that during an intense contact exercise in practice, known as the Oklahoma drill, Skillpa’s head was slammed so hard, his helmet shattered. The lawsuit alleges nothing was done to treat the boy, and he returned to the drill.
“He was not treated properly,” said Ton Plastino, Skillpa’s attorney. “After the initial injury, which was quite severe, he showed certain symptoms that needed to be treated. In spite of that, no protocol was pursued.”
Nearly eight years later, they say his condition has worsened, with new and more severe symptoms affecting his life. He’s been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“He suffers from unusual light sensitivity, anxiety, spatial relation problems, memory loss, all kinds of sleep issues. All of those make day-to-day living more difficult,” said Richard Sandow, Skillpa’s attorney.
They also say Skillpa is at great risk of suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Also, he will face a lifetime of medical care with no improvement expected.
“He will need further medical monitoring, medications. It will adversely affect his life. It’s not going to get any better,” said Plastino.
Why are they filing this suit eight years later? Skillpa’s attorneys say their client was only diagnosed with the most severe problems last September.
KDKA attempted to contact West Mifflin High School, so far we haven’t heard back from them.