Maker of football helmet sued over player’s head injury

Federal Courthouse Texarkana

A former Simms, Texas, football player and his parents filed a federal lawsuit this month in Texarkana alleging that helmet manufacturer Ridell is to blame for a catastrophic head injury suffered by the player during a game in September 2017.

Robert Howard Akins, Emillia Kay Akins and their son, Charles Scott Akins, are named as plaintiffs in a complaint filed Sept. 20 in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas against Riddell Inc., Riddell Sports Group Inc., All American Sports Inc., and BRG Sports Inc. The defendant companies are all connected according to the lawsuit.

The complaint alleges that the brain injury suffered by Scott Akins during a James Bowie Pirates varsity football game Sept. 22, 2017, resulted because of a defective Riddell Revolution Speed helmet. Scott Akins was wearing a Ridell helmet manufactured in 2010 and reconditioned by Ridell in 2017.

Scott Akins suffered a left subdural hematoma which caused severe brain damage.

“Scott suffered a severe brain injury that resulted in spastic quadriplegia. He has been hospitalized extensively ever since and has undergone multiple surgeries with limited prospects of ever improving,” the complaint states. “Despite his best efforts, Scott still lacks control of most of his extremities and cannot reliably move his left side. He is unable to speak clearly and uses signals with his right upper extremity to communicate.”

According to the lawsuit, Scott Akins must have round-the-clock care and will never be able to live independently.

The complaint accuses Ridell of knowing the helmet was inadequate to protect players from head injuries.

The complaint asks the court to award the plaintiffs general damages, actual damages, past and future medical and rehabilitative expenses, past and future physical pain and suffering, past and future mental anguish, past and future disfigurement, loss of future earning capacity, loss wages suffered in the past, exemplary damages and costs of court.

The defendants have not filed a response in the lawsuit.

The complaint is signed by Dallas attorney Michael Lyons. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III.

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