Junior College Sued Over Controversial “Oklahoma Drill”

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled on August 20, 2019, that Lackawanna Junior College had assumed a duty to care for the well-being of two of the school’s football players, Augustus Feleccia and Justin Resch.

On March 29, 2010, Feleccia and Resch were injured while participating in an Oklahoma Drill during the team’s football practice. An Oklahoma Drill has several variations, but it commonly involves two players lined up three yards opposite one another. At the sound of the whistle, the players run at one another until one of the players is on the ground. The drill came under criticism during the investigation of concussion-related and traumatic brain injuries among NFL players.

While performing this drill, Resch suffered a spinal injury. Feleccia, meanwhile, sustained a shoulder injury after a woman, who he thought was a college athletic trainer, told him he was fit to return to practice. In 2012, Resch and Feleccia sued Lackawanna Junior College, claiming that the football staff was negligent in employing two people who had failed to gain certification as athletic trainers.

Recently, Lackawanna Junior College attempted to dismiss the lawsuit, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied the bid. According to the court, “We hold that [Lackawanna College] had a duty to provide licensed athletic trainers for the purpose of rendering treatment to its student athletes … and there is a genuine issue … regarding whether [Lackawanna College] breached this duty.”

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