A former Texas high school football player has filed suit against his former school district (MarbleFallsIndependentSchool District) and football coach (Cord Woerner) in United States District Court. Blake Alan Ripple’s Complaint alleges that his current disabilities were caused by a lack of concern or proper care shown by the Defendants in supervising and running the school’s football program.
Presently, the 20 year old Ripple claims that his disabilities are so severe that he cannot even enter a rehabilitation program due to non-stop vomiting. Ripple also alleges he suffers from frequent headaches, upset stomach, and periodic episodes where his right side tremors involuntarily. His complaint notes that “[a]t one time Ripple was a National Honor Society Student and ‘Academic All-District . . . now he is unable to live independently, let alone go to college. At one time was one of the highest rated linemen in theCentral Texasarea and was receiving interest for scholarships from a number of Division colleges.” He claims that several physicians estimate that he has suffered dozens of concussions and sub-concussive hits while playing and that the doctors have encouraged him to apply for disability benefits.
In the suit, Ripple claims that Woerner, team trainers and the school administration downplayed numerous incidents when Ripple approached them complaining of head injuries. Ripple alleges that Coach Woerner insisted that he play through injuries and threatened him with disciplinary action if he did not practice or play. Ripple alleges that the school district “refused to investigate or appropriately respond to the report of a serious injury; it [had] retaliated against an injured child, it had branded his family as a problem for the school district; and [had] refused to alter its educational services in any meaningful way to accommodate the injury that Coach Woerner and other members of the football program caused.”
Ripple’s complaint alleges Fourth Amendment violations, violations of the rehabilitation act and the ADA, as well violations under the Texas Education Code.