District to pay $5M over teen’s death at football practice

Dec 8, 2022, 3:22 PM | Updated: 3:57 pm

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (AP) — A Washington school district will pay $5.25 million to the family of a high school student who died from a heart attack that happened during a 2018 football practice.

Allen Harris, 16, was participating in a conditioning practice on an “exceptionally hot” July 24 when he collapsed and suffered a seizure after completing sets of sprints, The Seattle Times reported.

The lawsuit says three coaches failed to recognize the sudden cardiac arrest symptoms and didn’t resuscitate him or retrieve a nearby automated external defibrillator.

“The coaches believed Allen was simply having a seizure and had another player pour water on his head,” according to court documents and a statement from the family’s attorneys at Connelly Law Offices.

Whitney Chiang, a Federal Way school district spokesperson, said in a statement that the teen’s death “was felt across Federal Way Public Schools, and those who knew him continue to feel this loss.

“We know our coaches did their best in a very difficult situation,” she said, adding that the district’s risk managers negotiated the settlement during mediation.

Head coach Carl Green and assistant coaches Jared Wren and Elijah Miller were overseeing the workout when Green ran to Harris and saw he was “unresponsive with his eyes back and seizing,” according to court documents. Miller called 911.

The lawsuit alleges over 10 minutes passed before EMTs arrived and started trying to resuscitate him. Two more minutes passed before medics were able to try to shock his heart to restore a heartbeat, the lawsuit claims. Harris later died at St. Francis Hospital.

His family sued the Federal Way school district in 2019. According to family attorney Micah LeBank, discovery in the case revealed the coaches hadn’t been properly trained to identify or respond to sudden cardiac arrest, which the lawsuit claims is a “well recognized medical emergency that high school programs are required to be prepared for.”

Court documents quote findings from a National Athletic Trainers’ Association task force, established in 2006, that recognized sudden cardiac arrest as a significant issue within high school sports, and established protocols for coaches and trainers.

“The Harris family hopes that this settlement will encourage school districts to train their coaches to identify and respond to Sudden Cardiac Arrest and hope that Allen’s legacy can save the lives of other students and student athletes,” a statement from the family said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


A demonstrator in Tel Aviv holds a sign calling for a cease-fire in the Hamas-Israel war on Nov. 21...

Associated Press

Hamas releases a third group of hostages as part of truce, and says it will seek to extend the deal

The fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was back on track Sunday as the first American was released under a four-day truce.

4 days ago

Men look over the site of a deadly explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, Wednesday, Oct. 18, ...

Associated Press

New AP analysis of last month’s deadly Gaza hospital explosion rules out widely cited video

The Associated Press is publishing an updated visual analysis of the deadly Oct. 17 explosion at Gaza's Al-Ahli Hospital.

7 days ago

Peggy Simpson holds a photograph of law enforcement carrying Lee Harvey Oswald's gun through a hall...

Associated Press

JFK assassination remembered 60 years later by surviving witnesses to history, including AP reporter

Peggy Simpson is among the last surviving witnesses who are sharing their stories as the nation marks the 60th anniversary.

7 days ago

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, ...

Associated Press

Israeli Cabinet approves cease-fire with Hamas; deal includes release of 50 hostages

Israel’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a cease-fire deal with the Hamas militant group that would bring a temporary halt to a devastating war.

8 days ago

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump helps serve food to Texas Natio...

Associated Press

Trump receives endorsement from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott during a visit to a US-Mexico border town

Donald Trump picked up the Texas governor’s endorsement Sunday during a visit to a U.S.-Mexico border town.

10 days ago

Eric Trump, executive vice president of Trump Organization Inc., speaks to the media as he leaves f...

Associated Press

Lawyers in Trump’s civil fraud trial are ordered to clam up about judge’s communications with staff

Eric Trump testified Friday that he was relying on accountants to ensure the accuracy of financial statements.

26 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Follow @KTAR923...

West Hunsaker at Morris Hall supports Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona

KTAR's Community Spotlight this month focuses on Morris Hall and its commitment to supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University: innovating Arizona health care education

Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus near Loop 101 and 59th Avenue is an established leader in health care education and one of Arizona’s largest and most valuable health care resources.

District to pay $5M over teen’s death at football practice