A Buhach Colony High School student has filed a lawsuit against the Merced Union High School District after she fell during cheerleading practice last October and allegedly injured her head.
The girl, a flier for the cheerleading squad, was tossed in the air and fell more than five feet when her teammates failed to catch her, causing the 16-year-old to suffer a minor head injury, according to court documents.
Josie Gaeta, the student's mother, said she filed a lawsuit against the district on her daughter's behalf because of the school's negligent response to the situation.
Officials from the Merced Union High School District declined to comment on the matter.
Calls placed to the athletic director and principal of Buhach Colony High School weren't returned.
The complaint also states that the district failed to offer proper supervision in the situation to prevent injuries, Gaeta said.
After the accident, the school didn't call an ambulance right away, Gaeta said. The school did call Gaeta and told her what happened to her daughter. When Gaeta arrived on campus 30 minutes later she herself called an ambulance, she said.
Gaeta said the school told her that it didn't look as if her daughter hit her head, so that's why the school didn't call the paramedics.
"Even if you fall on your back, your brain still moves," Gaeta said. "She had a serious concussion."
When the ambulance arrived, attendants gave her daughter oxygen and took her to a Modesto hospital. Her brain was being deprived of oxygen, Gaeta said, and she was trembling.
"I'm just happy the outcome was OK," Gaeta said. "(The school) has to take injuries seriously."
According to court documents, Gaeta said her daughter is seeking damages to cover medical expenses, wage loss and a loss of earning capacity.
The complaint also stated the student was engaged in unsafe stunts, which go against the school's policies. It also stated there was a lack of supervision by school officials at the time of the accident.
According to the MUHSD coaches' handbook, all coaches must carefully supervise their teams and are responsible for the prevention of injuries.
Reporter Jamie Oppenheim can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.