The family of a Maryland college football player is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the NCAA and two school coaches.
Two years ago, Frostburg State University senior fullback Derek Sheely collapsed and died following a series of preseason drills.
The 63-page complaint filed last week by Sheely's family claims Sheely died after suffering a fatal concussion sustained during a full contact drill in which players are forced to ram each other at full speed, head first.
The suit, which names coaches Jamie Schumacher and Thomas Rogish as defendants, describes a period of three days when Schumacher ordered Sheely to perform the same drill multiple times even after he complained of a headache.
Sports medicine physician Dr Kevin Crutchfield says activity such as the concussive impact described in the complaint, can rapidly mushroom into a life threatening event.
"Concussions are very serious. In fact, the phrase 'concussion' is sort of a euphemism for brain injury," Crutchfield. "We have to start focusing on this as a brain injury and more important as a disease process, because the actually impact or trauma is just the initiating event, and some of the more catastrophic occurrences that lead to dysfunction of the nervous system are chemical changes that are induced by that trauma."
Officials at Frostburg State have declined comment on the matter. A foundation has been created in Derek Sheely's name to focus attention on traumatic concussion and brain injury.