Baylor soccer player says header drills caused brain damage (1)

Baylor University is facing a lawsuit from a former member of its women’s soccer team who alleges she was forced to participate in “head drills” that caused lasting neurological damage.

Complainant Eva Mitchell alleges that Paul Jobson, who coached the Baylor women’s soccer team, subjected the players to ‘repetitive, brutal, dangerous and unnecessary head drills during training’, even after suffering a concussion cerebral, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.

Mitchell alleges the university was “aware of the dangerous heading drills” but “did nothing to prevent the injuries” she suffered. Jobson resigned as coach in November 2021 after 14 years with the program, nine of them as head coach.

The team was “forced to engage in a drill where Coach Jobson and his team fired super-inflated footballs from a mechanical device with speed increased to approximately 70 yards, and the players had to” direct “the ball”.

A Baylor spokesperson said the university is “unequivocally committed to providing our student-athletes with the latest in safe and effective sports medicine training and care.”

“While our thoughts and prayers continue to be with this former student-athlete, we look forward to the opportunity to respectfully rebut these allegations in an appropriate legal venue,” the university told Bloomberg Law. .

Coach Jobson’s resignation “was not related to the allegations made in this lawsuit,” the spokesperson said.

During a practice in February 2019 performed in “cold weather with overinflated balls with the speed of the machine increased, Ms. Mitchell felt like her brain had been shattered after taking the first lead on this drill”, alleges the complaint.

Most players, including Mitchell, complained of pain associated with the exercise, and Mitchell reported to a team coach that she suffered from headaches and concussion symptoms, according to the complaint. .

Mitchell was diagnosed with a concussion as a result of that drill and eventually recovered, she says.

Although Mitchell’s father complained to the varsity athletic trainer about the drills, the team used them again at the start of the athletic season in August 2020, according to the complaint.

Because she might otherwise lose her athletic scholarship, the complaint alleges that “Mitchell had no choice but to fully participate in the dangerous and repetitive head exercises.”

In August 2020, Mitchell suffered her second diagnosed concussion while training over a three-day period of workouts that involved repetitive machine ball head drills, she alleges.

Mitchell’s injuries were so severe “that she had difficulty walking around her house and required full-time assistance from her parents to assist her with her activities of daily living”, and he is “unclear if she will ever make a neurological recovery,” according to the complaint.

Reasons for action: Negligence; negligent hiring, monitoring and supervision; careless retention; gross negligence.

Relief: Compensatory, consequential, punitive and all other damages and costs.

Lawyers: Robert Stem Jr. in Waco, Texas, and Goldberg, Persky & White PC represent Mitchell.

The case is Mitchell v. Baylor, WD Tex., No. 22-cv-00195, 2/24/22.