Attorneys for former Belt High School football player Robert Back, who sustained a permanent brain injury during a game in 2014, are requesting that the courts assign legal responsibility for the incident to an athletic trainer employed through the Benefis Health System.
On Jan. 4, according to abc FOX Montana, Back’s attorneys filed a brief requesting that the court “determine as a matter of law that former defendant Jessica Hansen, ATC, an employee of Benefis, is a licensed health care professional” under the Dylan Steigers Protection of Youth Athletes Act.
The brief disputes Hansen’s claim that she does not fulfill the requirements of the act to bear responsibility for the incident, and points to an email in which Hansen is quoted saying Back was “ok concussion wise” [sic] to play in the game, leading to his later hospitalization.
On Jan. 5, attorneys for Back filed an additional ““Brief in Support of Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings-Affirmative Defenses of Assumption of Risk,” wherein they argue that both Benefis and Hansen are exempt from the Montana Recreation Responsibility Act.
The Recreation Responsibility Act states that participants in sports and recreational activities assume the inherent risks whether known or unknown including injury, death or damage to personal property, and that a provider is not required to control the inherent risks.
Back’s attorneys would attempt to prove that Hansen is a licensed health care professional, and Benefis is not a provider of any recreational activity, exempting the defendants from the protections of the Recreation Responsibility Act and assigning responsibility through the Protection of Youth Athletes Act.