Cumberland Times-News

Local News

August 23, 2013

Lawsuit filed in 2011 death of FSU football player

NCAA, college’s coach, others implicated

FROSTBURG  — The family of Frostburg State University football player Derek Sheely, who died of a head injury during practice in August 2011, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NCAA, FSU coach Tom Rogish and several others, according to a Washington Times article published Thursday.

Sheely collapsed during a preseason drill at FSU and died six days later at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Sheely’s parents, Kenneth and Kristin, and sister, Keyton, are plaintiffs in the case. They reside in Germantown.

The lawsuit filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court also names running backs coach Jamie Schumacher, assistant athletic trainer Michael Sweitzer Jr., and helmet manufacturer Schutt Sports.

The complaint reportedly details a series of events that led to Sheely death and asserts that his death was preventable.

According to the court documents, four times in a three-day span Sheely started bleeding profusely from his forehead after sustaining hits in full-contact exercises similar to Oklahoma drills where the fullback and linebacker collide at full speed. Two players were concussed during the drill earlier in the preseason drills.

Sheely was reportedly bandaged each time his forehead wound reopened to allow him to continue practice.

The lawsuit contends he was not evaluated for concussion and it was not made certain that his helmet fit property.

On Aug. 22, 2011, Sheely was bandaged and returned to contact for the final time.

After another drill, he reportedly told Schumacher that he didn’t feel right and that he had a headache.

Sheely resumed the 7-on-7 drill and collapsed on the sideline after colliding with a defensive back.

Several surgeries were performed to relieve brain swelling but Sheely never regained consciousness before he died at the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

A Frostburg State University spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter.

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