Mar 27, 2024

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed by Family of Promising Football Player

injury on football field

The premature death of football player Ja’Quayvin Smalls has reportedly led to a wrongful death lawsuit against the athletic personnel at Western Carolina University, where he was a player and a student. A junior college transfer from Georgia Military College in Millidgeville, Georgia, Smalls passed away due to complications from an enlarged heart after participating in the first WCU voluntary workout in the summer of 2009.

According to the Post and Courier, his family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that they disclosed the player’s sickle-cell trait and exertional sickling, but that the personnel ignored it.

The family had reportedly described his medical condition when he was being recruited on a form called the "Western Carolina University Athletic-training Services Prospective Student-Athlete Questionnaire." Sickle Cell anemia is a blood disorder where red blood cells form in an abnormal crescent or sickle shape, reducing their flexibility and leading to many complications. The lawsuit claims that the school and personnel failed to "develop policies and procedures to safely train and condition athletes with sickle cell trait."

According to WISTV, the family is looking for a sum in excess of $10,000 in the suit. Though the court has ordered a mediated settlement conference, it has yet to go to mediation. Those implicated in the lawsuit are athletic director Chip Smith, football coach Dennis Wagner, defensive coordinator Matt Pawlowski, head athletic trainer Steven Honbarger, assistant athletic trainer Brandon King and former strength coach Brad Ohrt, according to reports.

If a loved one has passed away due to the negligence, carelessness, or recklessness of another, it may be possible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Though it is impossible for money to replace the life of a loved one, compensation can provide financial stability for those the deceased has left behind.

A knowledgeable and experienced Atlanta wrongful death attorney can take care of the legal pressure in the aftermath of the accident so you can focus on recovering from the tragedy. At our firm, our attorneys will fight to recognize the incredible value of the life of your lost loved one, and will tirelessly work to seek the highest amount of compensation possible. Contact us today for a free, no-risk case evaluation.