Family settles lawsuit over 2014 death of North Carolina high school football player

Oct. 23, 2017
Isaiah Langston, 17, sustained a head injury during practice at Rolesville High in the Wake County district.

The family of a high school football player who died from a head injury sustained during a 2014 practice session has settled its lawsuit with the Wake County (N.C.) district.

The Raleigh News & Observer reports that district officials confirmed the lawsuit had been settled, but could not disclose details.

Isaiah Langston, 17, who was a student at Rolesville High in Rolesville, N.C., died Sept. 29, 2014, from a stroke that a state medical examiner’s report said was caused by a head injury suffered five days earlier in football practice. 

The attorney for Langston’s family did not immediately return a request for comment.

Wake County district spokesman Tim Simmons issued a statement about the case:

“We have the utmost sympathy for Isaiah Langston’s family. I can confirm that all four individual defendants – Rolesville High School’s athletic director, athletic trainer, and two coaches – have been dismissed from the lawsuit. The parties engaged in extensive discovery that led to a clear conclusion that school personnel acted with care and without any fault, which was the basis for filing the motion for summary judgment."

In the lawsuit, Langston’s family contended that the school did not follow the state’s concussion protocol and of not acting after the teen complained of headaches prior to his collapse before a football game two days later. 

Under state law, students who display symptoms of a concussion must be cleared by a medical doctor or licensed athletic trainer before returning to practice.

In its response to the lawsuit, district officials acknowledged that Langston didn’t participate in the concussion protocol and wasn’t cleared to play by any doctor. But school attorneys said that school employees did not know that Langston had suffered a concussion or that he had complained of headaches prior to his collapse.

Langston was hit in the back of the head during football practice Sept. 24, 2014, and had a headache for two days, according to the report by medical examiner Andrew Rand. He collapsed during pregame warm-ups Sept. 26, 2014, and was taken to the hospital. He died three days later.

The medical examiner ruled Langston’s death an accident. The means of death, according to the report, was “head trauma while playing football.”

The suit was scheduled to go to trial in November.

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