Former player blames Logan High football coaches, staff for practice injury

By Chris Dickerson | Jun 28, 2017

LOGAN – A recent high school graduate is suing the Logan County school board for injuries he sustained during preseason football drills last summer.

Caleb E.J. McDonald filed his lawsuit against the Logan County Board of Education on June 19 in Logan Circuit Court.

McDonald says he was a member of the Logan High School varsity football team entering his senior year and played nose tackle. On Aug. 2, 2016, he says he was taking part in a one-on-one pass rushing drill under the watch of defensive line coach Joshua Frye and under the approval of head coach Gary Mullens.

“The offensive players were given blocking shields and instructed to protect the ‘pocket’ in which the quarterback would normally be located by pushing away the defensive players with the blocking shields,” the complaint states. “The defensive players, in turn, were instructed to defeat the offensive players’ blocks and rush into the pocket as quickly as possible.”

During the drill, McDonald was playing offense and had one of the blocking shields.

Shortly after the drill began, McDonald says a freshman rushed up to him and grabbed him and his shield.

“The force of the defensive player’s actions knocked plaintiff off balance and while plaintiff was attempting to stabilize himself, his left (foot) planted into the ground, hyper-extending his left knee,” the complaint states. “Plaintiff immediately felt an overwhelming pain and was unable to continue the pass rushing drill.”

McDonald claims Frye and an athletic trainer looked at his knee and told him to sit on the bench with a bag of ice on his knee. The pain continued into the next day, so McDonald sought medical attention. An MRI showed a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

He had surgery to repair the torn ACL on Aug. 16, 2016, and missed the entire football season.

According to the complaint, the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission established a practice schedule for 2016 that included the first day of practice as Aug. 1, the first day of players wearing pads with no contact as Aug. 5, and the first day of live contact as Aug. 9.

McDonald claims Logan High principal Kelly Stanley also was accountable to the WVSSAC and should have notified her staff of the rules.

McDonald claims he has suffered severe and permanent injuries, sustained medical bills and other expenses, suffered a loss of enjoyment of life and will endure future pain and suffering, physically and mentally. He seeks compensatory damages, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief.

He is represented by Scott Segal and Jason Foster of The Segal Law Firm in Charleston. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Joshua Butcher.

Logan Circuit Court case number 17-C-182

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