Family files suit accusing Bellevue High football program of sending son back onto field after concussion

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BELLEVUE, Wash. -- The family of a former Bellevue High School football player filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking $500,000 in damages for allegedly sending him back onto the field after he suffered a concussion.

Colter Linford's mom, Judy Linford, said her son got good grades, always engaged in extracurricular activities and loved reading and debating issues, but that things changed dramatically in 2011 after six days on the Bellevue football practice field.

She said Colter, then 15, suffered a concussion on the practice field and trainers held her son out of practice for a few days. But, she said, before being evaluated by a doctor, he was allowed back on the field and suffered another concussion.

"It's been challenging, the degree of, sort of fragmentation, is behaviorial, emotional, then it spills into academics," Judy Linford said.

Colter dropped out of college and has dealt with anxiety, depression and memory lapses, she said of her now 20-year-old son. She said it took several years for doctors to trace things back to the concussions.

"There is a significant shift in his cognitive abilities before the incident and after the incident," said Fred Langer, Linford's attorney.

Linford's suit seeks a half-million dollars in damages from the Bellevue School District, claiming officials failed to use proper protocol when allowing him back on the field.

"One of the biggest reliefs we're asking for in this case is a complete review of Bellevue High School's return-to-play after a concussion," Langer said.

The Bellevue School District declined comment on pending litigation, but they sent their concussion protocols in an email.

The suit specifically mentions the Zack Lysteadt law, passed in 2009, which states a player must come out of a game and can't return to play until cleared by a medical professional. But it's not a mandate.






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