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Examiner
  • VIDEO: Student sues Blue Springs School District

  • A Blue Springs High School student is alleging that staff allowed mixed martial arts-type fighting after a wrestling team workout, and is suing the school district over alleged injuries suffered in a match.

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    A Blue Springs High School student is alleging that staff allowed mixed martial arts-type fighting after a wrestling team workout, and is suing the school district over alleged injuries suffered in a match.
     
     
    “If kids are not trained in this kind of fighting and participate with no head gear or other equipment, serious injuries can happen,” said Daniel Baylard, attorney in the case. “That is what happened here.”
    According to a nine-page document filed in Jackson County Circuit Court Aug. 27, Samuel Gomez, a student and member of the wrestling team at Blue Springs High School, said fighting was allowed to take place in the school’s wrestling room October 2008, while in the supervision of an assistant coach. The suit names Superintendent Paul Kinder as well as principal Dave Adams, athletic director Tom Round, head wrestling coach Michael Hagerty and assistant wresting coach James Williamson as defendants.
    MMA or Mixed Martial Arts is known as “extreme fighting.” Competitors may use other forms of fighting such as judo, boxing or karate during the matches in an attempt to either knock their opponent out or cause their opponent to “tap out.”
    Gomez alleges such fights occurred after a practice was canceled by Hagerty so the team could attend a booster club fundraiser.
    Some team members remained in the wrestling room, along with Williamson.
    Gomez entered the fight after someone else “tapped out.” In his statement, Gomez said he “took a vicious blow to his mouth and instantly knocked one tooth completely out and broke two more teeth.”
    According to the lawsuit, Gomez picked up his teeth off the mat, spit blood in the trash and continued to fight, eventually winning the match by causing his opponent to “tap out.” Gomez says he was congratulated by Williamson after the fight, and then went home without a trainer or nurse being called.
    The suit alleges coaches allowed many other MMA-style fights to take place, and that there is a video of at least one fight in the gym.
    The suit said Gomez needed two root canals costing more than $7,000 and future surgery costing approximately $20,000 will also be needed to treat the injuries.
    The student and his family are seeking damages in excess of $25,000 on the one count of negligent supervision and on a second count of negligence.
    Baylard said the lawsuit was filed so long after the incident because the family was allowing time for the school district to accept responsibility. The response, he said, “was not favorable.”
    “We believe we have a strong case,” Baylard said. “Anytime a student gets seriously injured, there is liability on the school district’s part.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Both Kinder and Hagerty declined to comment regarding the allegations because it is a legal matter.
     
     

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