Lawsuit accuses District 300 of negligence after cheerleader was injured in stunt

  • Parents of a former Jacobs High School student have sued Community Unit School Distict 300 for damages, arguing their daughter was severely injured in August 2019 doing a cheerleading "flyer stunt" and coaches failed to have a ring of her fellow cheerleaders to catch her.

    Parents of a former Jacobs High School student have sued Community Unit School Distict 300 for damages, arguing their daughter was severely injured in August 2019 doing a cheerleading "flyer stunt" and coaches failed to have a ring of her fellow cheerleaders to catch her. Getty Images stock photo

 
 
Updated 4/23/2020 8:08 PM

Parents of a former Jacobs High School student have sued Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300 for damages, arguing their daughter was severely injured while doing a cheerleading "flyer stunt" because coaches failed to provide adequate safety protection.

The girl, who was 14 when she was injured in 2019, suffered a concussion that has led to chronic headaches, visual disturbances and cognitive difficulties, her attorneys, Jeffrey and Shauna Martin, said this week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

District 300 spokesman Anthony McGinn said the district does not comment on pending litigation.

The girl went from being a normal high school student to being in isolation with a home tutor; light and noise can trigger headaches and she has to wear therapeutic glasses to shield her from light, the attorneys said.

The injury occurred Aug. 28, 2019, while cheerleaders were working on the stunt in which two cheerleaders attempt to lift a cheerleader to shoulder height or above their heads. A spotter or "safety ring" of cheerleaders is supposed to be in place to guard against a fall.

According to Jeffrey Martin and the lawsuit, which was filed in Kane County this month, the safety ring was not present, and the girl fell and struck her head on a thin blue mat.

The lawsuit argued the girl had attempted "flyer stunts" during eight practices before the fall. In each of the previous practices, the girl failed to complete the stunt but never hit the ground because there was a safety ring in place to catch her, according to the suit.

"Given this cheerleading group's inability to successfully complete the stunt previously and knowing that (she) fell before, the cheerleading coaching staff demonstrated a conscious indifference to (her) safety by failing to have a safety ring of girls present," Jeffrey Martin said.

The two sides are next due in court July 2 and the family seeks unspecified damages.

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