The Hillsborough County School Board has agreed to a $2-million settlement with a student who suffered a brain injury during football practice.
In addition, the school board has agreed to institute new rules meant to prevent future brain injuries in student-athletes, which will implement uniform procedures to be followed when a head injury is suspected.
Sean McNamee was a varsity football player for Wharton High School when he suffered a serious brain injury while warming up for practice in October 2013.
McNamee hit his head on a piece of metal equipment that was mistakenly left on the practice field. He was briefly seen by the trainer, then left alone in the training room.
He then drove himself home, where his family realized he had sustained a significant injury. His father took him to Florida Hospital Tampa, where he was diagnosed with a severe brain injury.
Ultimately, McNamee was in a coma for nine days and underwent two brain surgeries. Doctors said it was likely he wouldn't survive, but he did. He now has a titanium plate in his head and has required physical and cognitive therapy.
As part of the settlement, the school board also agreed to provide an additional $1 million in coverage above the $300,000 already granted in cases of wrongful injury or death for the county's student-athletes.
“The Board is to be commended for stepping up and agreeing to do the right thing on behalf of Sean McNamee, as well as the many thousands of students in its charge," McNamee's attorney Steve Yerrid said in a statement.
"I applaud its members for making a decision to take affirmative steps in recognizing that our public school students need a better level of protection. The McNamee Protocol will go a long way to ensure that all injured students get the kind of safeguards and care to which they are entitled.”