SPOKANE, Wash. – The Supreme Court of Washington ruled the parents of Andrew Swank are eligible to continue with their lawsuit against Valley Christian School football coach Jim Puryear after their son died of complications from a football-related injury.
On September 18, 2009, Swank was hit on the head during a football game. Three days later, he was taken to the doctor who determined he should be kept out of contact sports for the following three days.
According to court documents, Swank played in a football game with permission from his doctor later that week and appeared sluggish, as well as confused during the game. Documents state Coach Puryear called Swank to the sidelines, grabbed his face mask and, according to Swank’s father, “began to jerk it up and down hard while he screamed” at Swank.
Swank then returned to the game and was hit by an opposing player. He suffered head injuries and collapsed on the sideline. Swank died two days later.
The Supreme Court reinstated the Swanks’ claims that Valley Christian School and Coach Puryear violated the Lystedt law.
The purpose of the Lystedt law is to reduce the risk of further injury or death to youth athletes who suffer concussions in the state of Washington. The law requires schools to develop a concussion and head injury information sheet to inform coaches, athletes and their parents of the nature and risk of head injury, as well as continuing to play after a concussion or head injury.
Court documents state the Supreme Court ruled the Swanks’ common law negligence claims against Coach Puryear are reinstated for further proceedings in superior court.