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Garey High School Parent Testifies in Helmet Lawsuit

Edward Acuna sustained a brain injured during a football game in 2009. The lawsuit alleges that Riddell Sports' football helmet had improper padding.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

The mother of a young man who suffered a brain injury while playing high school football in Pomona in 2009 testified today that she quit her job to be his caretaker.

"I have tried to do the best I can for him," Teresa Acuna of Pomona told a Los Angeles Superior Court jury. She said she helps him dress, drives him to and from school and prepares his meals.

Edward Acuna's 53-year-old mother was the third family member to testify in the trial of a lawsuit alleging that Riddell Sports Inc.'s Revolution football helmet had improper padding in the forehead area, causing him to suffer a subdural hematoma.

Her son, then 17, was hurt while playing defensive tackle for Garey High School in Pomona during a home game against Montclair High on Oct. 16, 2009. The trial is in its third week in Los Angeles Superior Court.

According to Teresa Acuna, her son's right arm is paralyzed, so he cannot easily put on his clothing.

"I put his feet into his pants and also try and have him help me with his left hand," she said, with help from a Spanish-language interpreter.

Edward Acuna, now 21, uses the bathroom on his own but "he has had some accidents," she said.

She said her son has memory problems.

"The thing with him is he forgets he went to the bathroom and then he wants to return again," Teresa Acuna said.

She said her son's day starts about 6:30 a.m. On weekdays, he attends a school for disabled adults from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., she said.

Initially her son could only attend school for a few hours at a time, but now he is able to be there for a full day, she said.

According to previous trial testimony, the teen jogged to the sideline after being hit during the football game, then collapsed and lost consciousness. He spent 11 days in a coma, was hospitalized a total of 4 1/2 months and will need lifetime care, according to the previous testimony.

Attorneys for Acuna maintain the injury could have been prevented, if the helmet's forehead padding consisted of a material that could better withstand the blow he received.

Lawyers for Riddell deny there is a design defect in the helmet and say it is the same model worn by NFL players.

—City News Service

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