Suit links brain injury to Pelini Foundation's 'Football 101' - Omaha.com
Published Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 12:00 am / Updated at 10:28 am
Suit links brain injury to Pelini Foundation's 'Football 101'

LINCOLN — A woman in her 60s who signed up for a clinic to learn more about football from Husker coaches says she wound up instead with a head injury.

Now, Beverly J. Morgan of Lincoln has sued Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck — she alleges he encouraged other women in the class to hit her — as well as the Bo Pelini Foundation that staged the “Football 101” class to raise funds for charity.

Morgan, who was 64 at the time of her injury in June 2010, alleges that her brain injury occurred during a gauntlet drill where she was given a football and urged to run between two lines of women who used blocking pads to try to knock the ball out of her arms.

Other than being a Nebraska fan, she was not familiar with football and had to ask Beck how to hold the ball, according to her lawsuit filed Tuesday in Lancaster County District Court.

Her suit alleges that after she took a couple of steps, one or two of the women hit her so hard that she was knocked off her feet and hit the back of her head on the training center floor. Her cap and earrings flew off.

Held at the Hawks Championship Training Center, Football 101 was a one-day clinic, first organized by former Husker coach Bill Callahan in 2004, to raise money for breast cancer research. In 2010, it attracted 950 women and raised $125,000. It has not been offered since.

A lawyer representing the Pelini Foundation could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Athletic Department officials declined to comment.

Morgan's lawsuit seeks $92,564 for medical expenses related to brain surgery and the repair of a torn rotator cuff, as well as for an unspecified amount for pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, physical impairment and other damages.

The lawsuit was filed on Morgan's behalf by Lincoln attorney Robert D. Kinsey Jr.

Although University of Nebraska Regent Tim Clare serves as legal counsel for the Pelini Foundation, he declined to comment about the suit. He referred calls to Thomas Culhane, an Omaha attorney hired to represent the foundation.

The suit describes what Morgan says happened to her:

After she was knocked down, she suffered an immediate headache and became nauseated and her right foot dragged. Beck and an unidentified woman helped Morgan to a chair on the sidelines. No medical staff came to check on her. She did not participate in any more drills.

Morgan visited a doctor five days later after experiencing involuntary foot spasms and continued headaches. However, a June 8, 2010, MRI showed no damage. The lawsuit maintains that the MRI results were not atypical because Morgan suffered a slow bleed inside her skull.

Over the following weeks, Morgan's headaches continued, her speech patterns deteriorated, her vision blurred, and she suffered memory loss and a loss of her ability to concentrate and multi-task. She suffered pain and weakness on her right side, including tremors. She couldn't function normally at her job as a trucking industry logistics coordinator.

On Aug. 9, 2010, Morgan became disoriented during a YMCA exercise session. A friend took her home and then to the emergency room, on her doctor's instructions. She underwent brain surgery that evening to evacuate a subdural hematoma, a pool of blood on her brain.

In February 2011, Morgan underwent rotator cuff surgery to repair what the suit describes as shoulder injuries from being knocked down.

Contact the writer: 402-473-9581, leslie.reed@owh.com

Contact the writer: Leslie Reed

leslie.reed@owh.com    |   402-473-9581    |  

Leslie covers higher education issues and events affecting Nebraska college students and their families.

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