Jury Awards Millions Against Helmet Maker for Failing to Warn of the Dangers of Concussions

A Colorado jury has awarded $11.5 million in a lawsuit originally brought against helmet maker Riddell and several high school administrators and football coaches over brain injuries suffered by a teenager in 2008.

The ruling comes as the company faces a similar lawsuit in Los Angeles, plus a complaint by thousands of former NFL players against the league and Riddell. The jury in Las Animas County found that Riddell was negligent in failing to warn people wearing its helmets about concussion dangers. The jury assessed 27 percent of the fault for Rhett Ridolfi’s injuries, making the company responsible for paying $3.1 million of the damages.

Ridolfi’s family sued Riddell and his coaches after Ridolfi suffered a concussion in a Trinidad High School football practice. He was not immediately taken to the hospital and now has severe brain damage, as well as paralysis on his left side.

Three people reached confidential settlements before Saturday’s verdict, but two coaches were still defendants at the trial. Ridolfi’s lawyer, Frank Azar, said Sunday that he will ask a judge to find Riddell responsible for paying all $11.5 million in damages. “I think this jury has said they’re in very serious trouble,” said Azar, who said he is representing between 10 and 20 former NFL players with complaints against Riddell.

These lawsuits against Riddell, the NFL, and other parties have been brought following serious long-term brain damage resulting from concussions. Lawsuits like these will hopefully help motivate the parties involved to fully inform people of the risks of long term brain damage and make attempts to reduce long-term damage of players in the future.

If you or someone you know have been seriously injured while participating in sports, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling (713) 222-7211 or 713-222-7211.