On Campus

Football player sues Bishop’s University over head injury

Kevin Kwasny blames coaches

WINNIPEG – Two years after he says he was hit in the head during a university football game, Kevin Kwasny is still working to regain his mobility and is suing over a decision to send him back onto the field.

The former defensive end alleges in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that team coaches for Bishop’s University in Quebec kept him in the game when he was already dizzy from a hit.

“He complained about his head being sore and that he got hit very hard … and they just told him to get back in there a couple of plays later and keep on going,” Kwasny’s father, Greg, said Tuesday.

Kevin Kwasny, who is now 23, was taken to hospital during halftime in a Canadian Interuniversity Sport football game between the Bishop’s University Gaiters and the Concordia Stingers on Sept. 10, 2011. He had suffered bleeding on the brain and was in critical condition.

Two years later, he is still undergoing therapy. He lives in a rehabilitation centre in Selkirk, north of his family’s home in Winnipeg, and is working to regain his mobility and strength.

“He lost his whole right side, as if someone drew a line down him,” his father said.

“He’s got some of it back — his fingers and his arms moving — and his leg is a little bit moving but not fully.”

According to Kwasny’s statement of claim, Bishop’s has not paid for extensive medical costs. Family friends, Bishop’s alumni and others have donated money and offered support, Greg Kwasny said. Kwasny is asking in his lawsuit for $7.5 million.

The university has told the Kwasnys it is a matter for their own health insurance, he said.

Kevin Kwasny is asking Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench for damages and legal expenses.

The allegations in the statement of claim have not been proven in court. Bishop’s has not filed a statement of defence and no court date has been set to hear the lawsuit.

Kwasny’s lawsuit alleges he sustained a hit to the head during the first half of the game, left the field and told his coaches he was dizzy, had blurred vision and felt like he had had “his bell rung.” Shortly afterward, the lawsuit claims, he was told to get back on the field and was hit again.

Coaches and trainers “failed to assess Kevin’s symptoms for signs and/or symptoms of a concussion or head injury as required or at all,” the statement of claim alleges.

By halftime, Kwasny had deteriorated and was brought to hospital in critical condition.

Jackie Bailey, the university’s dean of student affairs, said Tuesday that the coaches had no idea Kwasny was hurt until halftime.

“We don’t feel that we’re liable … for the injury in the sense that as soon as we found out that there was anything even remotely wrong with Kevin, we put sort of as rapid a response in place as we could and got him to care as quickly as we could.

“We have enormous compassion and always have for Kevin and his family and continue to feel enormous empathy for the situation he’s going through.”

Two days after the incident, Gaiters spokesman John Edwards said Kwasny had shown no signs of injury and game films did not show any hit or play that might have caused an injury.

—Steve Lambert

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