Says 16-Year-Old Died After Returning To Field Too Fast Following Concussion

NEWARK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Montclair High School and the Montclair Board of Education have agreed to pay $2.8 million to the family of a football player who died after suffering a concussion, the attorney for Ryne Dougherty’s family said Monday.

The Doughertys hoped their son’s case would bring attention to the importance of properly managing concussions, attorney Beth Baldinger said.

Dougherty, a 16-year-old junior linebacker, suffered a brain hemorrhage in an October 2008 game after he was prematurely returned to action following an earlier concussion, Baldinger said. She said the school’s athletic trainer had allegedly ignored the 16-year-old’s poor results on an impact test, disregarded rules about returning a concussed athlete to the field, and failed to make sure Dougherty had been 100 percent cleared before returning him to play.

“There were failures in the system all the way through,” Baldinger said.

The settlement was reached just before jury selection was set to begin for a civil trial.

Messages left for the school district’s attorney after-hours on Monday were not immediately returned. The district had earlier defended the decision to let Dougherty return to the field by saying he had been cleared for contact by his family physician, The Newark Star-Ledger reported.

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