A judge in Lawrence County, Pa., northwest of Pittsburgh along the Ohio border, has opened the way for a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association by two high school football players who suffered concussions.
The suit was originally filed last December by a trio of plaintiffs: two former athletes at Neshannock High School in New Castle, and the father of a then-senior at Lincoln High School in Elwood City.
Of the three athletes, two played football and one played softball. All suffered head injuries while playing high school sports. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote in depth about the lawsuit at the time it was filed.
The PIAA objected to the lawsuit, claiming that it does not officially have a legal duty to care for student-athletes' safety. Instead, the organization said, member schools' staffs have that responsibility. Last month, a judge in Lawrence County Common Pleas court dismissed most of the organization's objectsions.
Last week, the the PIAA started a process to seek an appeal of the judge's order.
The plaintiffs' lawyers, of the Texas-based firm Carpenter & Schumacher, are seeking to certify the case as a class action in order to cover the state as a whole. That would push the PIAA to establish statewide safety measures.
Carpenter & Schumacher joined with two western Pennsylvania-based law firms to set up the case.
A statement from Carpenter & Schumacher alleged that the PIAA "failed in its duty to protect the safety of students, such as by failing to appropriately implement baseline and testing, provide necessary medical personnel and monitoring, create protocols for diagnosis and treatment and create a safe playing environment, among other issues."