The family of a North County high school football player who suffered a severe brain injury during a 2007 game will receive nearly $4.9 million from the San Marcos Unified School District and sports equipment manufacturer Riddell in a settlement finalized Friday.
The settlement in the lawsuit brought by the family of Scott Eveland was reached last week, but specifics were not announced until a court hearing in Vista Friday. The San Marcos Unified School District agreed to pay $4.375 million to settle the case and Riddell agreed to a $500,000 settlement.
“When cases get resolved amicably it’s in everyone’s best interest,” said Vista Court Judge Thomas Nugent as the terms of the settlement were read in open court.
Following the court hearing, attorneys in the case issued a joint statement that reads in part: “All parties agree that this settlement presents a compromise that is in the best interests of Scott Eveland. The money paid in this settlement will assist Scott in obtaining future medical care and treatment, which has been the longtime concern of the San Marcos Unified School District and the San Marcos community.
“Scott Eveland and his family agree that this settlement does not suggest that the professional and hard-working coaches, athletic trainers, administrators and staff of the Mission Hills High School intentionally contributed to the unfortunate and tragic accident that occurred during a high school football game.”
According to court documents, Eveland — then 17 — went to the trainer of his Mission Hills High School football team and asked to stay on the bench because of a severe headache, which kept him from focusing his eyes. The trainer told head coach Chris Hauser, but Hauser put Eveland – a linebacker – in the game anyway, and he collapsed from bleeding on the brain, according to court documents.
His mother, Diane Luth, said her son, now 22 years old, will be severely disabled for the rest of his life. He is mentally sharp but can barely speak and answers questions on a keyboard.
“We’re glad to put this behind everybody and give Scott a shot at a better tomorrow,” said Robert J. Francavilla, the Eveland family attorney.
Before the settlement, Eveland’s attorneys were said to be seeking about $25 million, which is the amount needed for the young man’s round-the-clock care for the rest of his life, according to court documents. The attorneys for Eveland demanded that payment from the district to a trust account be made in 30 days.
Eveland has slowly made progress toward a recovery and has managed to earn enough credits to receive his high school diploma.