A football player from Winnipeg has launched a multi-million dollar lawsuit against a Quebec university after he sustained permanent brain damage during a game.
Kevin Kwasny has filed a $7.5 million lawsuit against Bishop’s University, alleging he was forced to play despite having symptoms of a concussion during a 2011 game.
'[Kevin is] at a point where he can’t cut his food on his plate. He’s trying to learn how to tie his shoes with one hand because his right side was paralyzed totally.'—Greg Kwasny, Kevin's father
Kwasny, who was 21 at the time, was playing a game for the Gaiters when he began vomiting and went unconscious in September 2011. At half-time he was rushed to hospital in critical condition, where he had emergency surgery to relieve bleeding on his brain.
He was put in a medically-induced coma.
Court documents say Kwasny took a blow to his head during the game, and he immediately told multiple members of the coaching staff about his injury.
The documents allege Kwasny was ordered to play, despite having symptoms of a concussion.
Shortly after returning to the field, he was hit again and suffered a major brain bleed, leaving him unconscious.
Kwasny now has permanent brain damage and physical injuries. The documents say Kwasny will never be able to work again.
- Dynasty to death: CBC's Fifth Estate examines head injuries in football
- The National: Hits and head injuries
"He’s in treatment. He’s in hospital," said Greg Kwasny, Kevin’s father. "He started walking about a year ago. Barely, you know. He’s able to get around a bit."
Greg said his son has spent time at multiple facilities in the province, including the Health Sciences Centre and Riverview Health Centre.
He is still unable to perform basic tasks.
"He’s at a point where he can’t cut his food on his plate," he said. "He’s trying to learn how to tie his shoes with one hand because his right side was paralyzed totally."
Greg said the money from the lawsuit would go toward the continued care of his son.
"It's not like I'm going to be a rich guy over this," he said. "Because anytime anybody wants to trade with me, go right ahead. They can keep the money, and I want my son back."
His lawyer, Jamie Kagan, said the university has never apologized or offered to help pay for Kwasny’s care.
"These kids go out into the football program, and if something goes wrong, they’re sent home to their parents broken," said Kagan. "The parents are responsible for trying to get them fixed, and in Kevin’s case, when you’re dealing with a traumatic brain injury, those costs are substantial."
Officials from Bishop's University say the school did everything it could to care for Kwasny. The university’s dean of student affairs said coaches got Kwasny to treatment as soon as they learned he was hurt.
The university has not yet filed a statement of defense.
None of the allegations in the court documents have yet been proven in court.
Kagan said just the air ambulance that brought him home to a Winnipeg hospital cost $21,000.
Kwasny is now 24 and is receiving round-the-clock care at a Selkirk facility for his brain injuries.
Before Kwasny was recruited to Bishop’s University in 2008, he played for St. Paul’s High School in Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba.