Jury awards $11.5 million verdict in Riddell football helmet concussion lawsuit

by Charles Miller

During football practice in 2008 at a Colorado high school, Rhett Ridolfi, now 22, suffered a concussion. He wasn’t taken to the hospital right away and is now paralyzed on the left side and has severe brain damage. His parents sued Riddell, the manufacturer of the helmet, and the coaches. The lawsuit alleged the helmet was defective and that the company was negligent in failing to adequately warn players of the dangers of sustaining concussions despite the headgear.

Following a trial, a jury has now awarded $11.5 million to Ridolfi. The jury found that Riddell failed to accurately warn users about concussion dangers and determined the company was 27% responsible for Ridolfi’s injuries and put the remainder of the responsibility on two of the school’s coaches.

Riddell also is named in a lawsuit by former NFL players against the league The company faces complaints by thousands of former NFL players who claim the helmets didn’t protect against concussion injuries. Head injuries from football have been in the news since several NFL stars committed suicide, including Junior Seau, Ray Easterling, and former Chicago Bears safety Dave Duerson, who shot himself in the chest and left a suicide note asking that his brain be studied for damage. Repeated concussions can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease.

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