Football Helmet Maker Riddell Found Negligent in Lawsuit Brought by Former High School Player By Tod Aronovitz | 04/23/13 | 0 Comment

In a lawsuit involving football helmet maker Riddell and several high school administrators and football coaches, a Colorado jury has awarded $11.5 million to the family of a severely injured high school football player over brain injuries he suffered in 2008.

The Las Animas County jury found that Riddell was negligent in failing to warn people wearing its helmets about the dangers of concussion, and assessed 27 percent of the fault to Riddell for Rhett Ridolfi’s injuries, making the company responsible for paying $3.1 million in damages. Ridolfi, who wasn’t immediately taken to the hospital after the injury, now has severe brain damage and paralysis on his left side.

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.

Riddell said it planned to appeal the Ridolfi verdict.

“While disappointed in the jury’s decision not to fully exonerate Riddell, we are pleased the jury determined that Riddell’s helmet was not defective in any way,” the company said in a statement.

In January, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) added three more rules to minimize the risk of injury in high school football games. As a follow-up to last year’s rules change that requires players to sit out one play if their helmet comes off while the ball is live, the additions were approved by the NFSH Football Rules Committee and its Board of Directors.

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