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District Rejects Ventura Student's Negligence Claim

December 24, 1987|MIKE HISERMAN | Times Staff Writer

The Ventura Unified School District has unanimously rejected a $790,000 claim filed by the family of a Ventura High football player who suffered a serious head injury during practice.

Jayson Webb, a senior offensive tackle, alleges that the helmet he was wearing when he was injured during routine drills Aug. 28 had been negligently repaired and adjusted by Ventura's training and coaching staff.

Law requires football helmets to be certified before they are issued to a player. Mickey Perry, Ventura's athletic director, said in an interview last month that each player's helmet had been certified and checked more than once during the season.

Webb, 17, was one of two Ventura players who needed brain surgery to repair injuries suffered in practice sessions this season. Jason Bennett, a senior nose tackle, suffered a similar injury Oct. 6.

Both players endured headaches after taking part in what they described as routine contact drills.

Webb had fluid and a blood clot removed from his brain during a 3 1/2-hour operation. He was hospitalized for 10 days.

Webb's claim, which was submitted the week after Ventura's last football game, seeks $30,000 in medical expenses, $10,000 for future medical expenses, $250,000 for diminished earning capacity and $500,000 for pain and suffering.

The claim had to be made before a lawsuit could be filed because the school district is considered a government agency. Attorneys for Webb's family had not filed suit as of Tuesday.

Al Ramsey, Webb's stepfather, declined to comment on the claim or the possibility of a lawsuit.

"It's a touchy subject," he said. "We have Jayson's rights to protect, but we want there to be as few distractions as possible."

Webb returned to school at Ventura in early October.

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