College Football Player’s Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit


The parents of Derek Sheely, a 22-year-old Frostburg State University football player who died two years ago after a second concussion, have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit last week in the Montgomery County Circuit Court against the school, the NCAA, Thomas Rogish (head coach), Schutt Sports (helmet-maker) and Michael Sweitzer Jr. (assistant athletic trainer).

The 22 count lawsuit alleges that the university officials's 'reckless disregard for player health and safety led to [Sheely's] tragic death.' It also accuses them for fostering an environment where players were penalized if they complained of injuries and forcing them to play through pain till it posed a serious risk.

During the Division III School's preseason camp in August 2011, Sheely, a fullback, along with other players, was compelled to take part in drills that necessitated players to bang into one another. The players endured 'approximately 30-40 sub concussive, or concussive, blows to the head.'

The lawsuit also claimed that if the players did not carry out the tasks as told, Schumacher scolded and 'cursed at them.'

Several days after sustaining head injuries, Sheely complained on August 22, 2011, that he had a headache and 'didn't feel right.' Instead of checking for a concussion, Schumacher allegedly told him to 'stop your ... moaning and quit acting like a [expletive] and get back out there, Sheely!'

After returning to the field, Sheely fainted and never regained consciousness. He died Aug. 28, 2011.

" is inconceivable to us how, with all the attention on concussions, there is still no unified enforcement to prevent dangerous drills, stop false safety claims, or ensure proper medical attention to concussed athletes. We are haunted by the knowledge that Derek's death was preventable, and we feel an obligation to share lessons that could prevent other children from suffering Derek's fate," the family statement read.

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