Plaintiffs claim Benefis athletic trainer should be held account - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Plaintiffs claim Benefis athletic trainer should be held accountable in Robert Back case

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Attorneys for Robert Back, the high school football player who received substantial, permanent brain injuries while playing in a Belt High School football game in 2014, are now working to prove an athletic trainer employed through Benefis Health System should be held accountable for Back’s injuries.

On January 4th, Back’s attorneys filed a “Brief in Support of Motion for Determination of Law Regarding Licensed Health Care Professional.” According to court documents, the brief is a request for the “Court to determine as a matter of law that former defendant Jessica Hansen, ATC, an employee of Benefis, is a licensed health care professional under Dylan Steigers Protection of Youth Athletes Act.”

The brief goes on to state that despite Benefis continually arguing Hansen does not fall under the guidelines of the Act, she still was quoted in an email as stating Back was “ok concussion wise” to play in the football game which ultimately led to Back’s hospitalization. Back’s attorneys argue along with that email evidence, it is clear Hansen falls under the requirements of the Act to be held responsible.

Court documents also state one of the Plaintiffs’ experts, Head Athletic Trainer at the University of Montana, J.C. Weida, agrees that Hansen’s title as an athletic trainer is included under the Act’s broader title of “licensed health care professional.”

In addition to arguing Hansen does, in fact, fall under the Protection of Youth Athletes Act, Plaintiffs’ attorney also filed a “Brief in Support of Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings-Affirmative Defenses of Assumption of Risk,” on January 5th.

In this Brief, the Plaintiffs argue both Benefis Health System and Hansen do not fall under the Montana Recreation Responsibility Act, which, according to court documents, provides an assumption of risk defense only to providers of recreational activities: 1) A person who participates in any sport or recreational opportunity assumes the inherent risks in that sport or recreational opportunity, whether those risks are known or unknown, and is legally responsible for all injury or death to the person and for all damage to the person’s property that result from the inherent risks in that sport or recreational opportunity, and 2) a provider is not required to eliminate, alter, or control the inherent risks within the particular sport or recreational opportunity that is provided.

In last week’s Brief, the Plaintiffs state because Benefis is not a provider of the recreational activity, it is not entitled to protections afforded by the act.

To see previous coverage of the Robert Back v. Benefis case, click here. Jury Trial is scheduled to begin March 5th, 2018.

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