Ex-High School Football Player Sues School District Over Concussion

John Enloe III claims he now suffers from a "traumatic and catastrophic" brain injury because a La Jolla High coach would not take him out of a game.

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Farrah Skeiky/Dim Sum Media

A former La Jolla High School student is suing the San Diego Unified School District, claiming he suffered a brain injury when a football coach refused to take him out of a game.

In a complaint filed last week, John "Trey" Enloe III says he now suffers from "traumatic and catastrophic brain injuries" because of a game on Oct. 16, 2014 at Point Loma High School.

A member of La Jolla High’s junior varsity team, Enloe took a hard hit during the game’s first quarter. He soon started complaining of "a headache and nausea, and was noticeably rattled, confused, and unable to follow simple direction," the complaint says.

Enloe approached the team’s assistant coach, Steven Wachs, and told him something was not right, according to the document.

Wachs allegedly told him “he did not have time” and demanded he return to the game, Enloe says.

When the student returned to the game, he suffered a second hard hit. Later that night, Enloe was taken to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a serious concussion. Wachs was later suspended from his role as assistant coach, and he was not asked to return this year, school officials say.

Enloe is still recovering from the injuries and may never fully heal, the complaint says.

NBC 7 has reached out to Wachs but has not heard back. He previously told NBC 7’s media partner Voice of San Diego that neither Enloe nor anyone else told him the athlete was injured.

The former player claims the San Diego Unified School District coaches, staff and personnel acted carelessly and negligently when they failed to recognize the signs of his injury and put him back in the game.

According to the complaint, the district holds responsibility for failing to hire "competent athletic department personnel," failing to train the personnel to recognize and address symptoms of serious head injuries and failing to establish rules about what to do if players have a potential head injury.

The district is also accused of "creating a false sense of security" on the football field, to Enloe's detriment.

The complaint seeks general and special damages from the district, including medical and health care-related expenses and costs of the suit.

A school district spokeswoman told NBC 7 Tuesday the district is unable to comment on pending claims or lawsuits.

She did say that the district updated its concussion protocols, including its "return to play" protocol, earlier this year to incorporate new and better practices for employees working with athletes who have been injured.

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