Cheerleader Sues Southeastern over Concussions

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A former cheerleader at Southeastern University in Florida is suing the school, her former coach and an assistant athletic trainer for negligence over what she says was the mishandling of concussions she suffered while participating on the cheer team.

Former Southeastern cheerleader Ali Roberts filed a lawsuit alleging six counts of negligence against Southeastern cheerleading coach Krissa Wallsteadt, assistant athletic trainer Lana Olson and Southeastern University.

Roberts’ lawyer, Joseph Alvarez, says Southeastern failed to properly train Olson and Wallsteadt on concussion protocols.

“The school is trying to suggest that she wasn’t injured despite objective findings saying otherwise,” Alvarez told The Ledger. “It’s mind-blowing to me that the school is not doing anything. It’s a complete reckless disregard for the safety of their students.”

The school declined to comment on the matter.

The lawsuit claims that Roberts fell on her head during a Sept. 1, 2016, team practice. She was treated by assistant coach Kim Henry, who later drove her home without seeing an athletic trainer or a doctor. Roberts would later be cleared to return to the team by Olson, but she fell again on Oct. 20, “aggravating and compounding the injury resulting in ongoing neuro-cognitive defect,” according to the court filing.

In total, Alvarez says this was the fourth concussion in Roberts’ life and that the Southeastern University concussion policy states that after a third concussion in a lifetime, a referral to a doctor is required.

Alvarez cited text messages between athletic trainers that prove there were several other cases of student-athletes not being treated for concussions who were “either forced or encouraged to return to play without ever being evaluated or referred to a physician.”

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