Family of Football Player Who Collapsed During Practice Sue Federal Way School District
The parents of Allen Harris, who died last year after an outdoor football practice at Federal Way High School, have filed a lawsuit against the school district.
On July 24, 2018, Harris collapsed to the ground during football practice and then died later that afternoon. An autopsy revealed that the 16-year-old had a previously unknown condition called hypertrophic cardio myopathy, which causes the heart muscles to become abnormally thick.
When Harris collapsed, football coach Elijah Miller called 911, but none of the coaches recognized the signs of cardiac arrest like they should have. They also didn’t use a nearby AED that would have saved his life. They instead thought that Harris was having a seizure and poured water over his head. He was on the ground for 12 minutes before help arrived.
“Allen died as a result of the Federal Way Public School’s failure to plan for foreseeable medical emergencies and to do its job to provide emergency medical aid to a student athlete during a football practice on the school premises,” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit also claims that the students had to run wind sprints during a very hot day and didn’t get proper breaks or hydration.
Kassie Swenson, chief of communications and strategy for Federal Way School Public School, said the the district is currently reviewing the lawsuit.
“The district continues to offer condolences to the family.” Swenson said. “Federal Way Public Schools received the lawsuit on February 13 and is reviewing the allegations.”
Harris’ family is suing the district for negligence on several counts, including failing to protect a student during a medical emergency.