The family of a 16-year-old boy injured during a football game
between Burbank and San Gabriel’s Gabrielino high schools has filed a
lawsuit against both school districts.
Andrew Castillo collapsed and stopped breathing after complaining
of head pain during the fourth quarter of an Oct. 4 game at John
Burroughs High School’s Memorial Field, where Burbank High regularly
plays its home games. He was taken to an area hospital and later
transferred to a private hospital, where he remained in a coma until
Castillo was released from the hospital Wednesday, but his
attorney, Gary Dordick, said he still suffers from severe mental and
physical deficits, including a level of cognition comparable to that
of a 7-year-old.
While Burbank High team physician Steve Yacoubian and other
volunteers came to Castillo’s aid after he collapsed, the lawsuit
claims the ambulance and paramedics assigned to the field were gone
on another call at the time of Castillo’s injury.
“Our understanding is that there were no medical personnel
available from the time of his injury until he lapsed into a coma,”
The two districts have not explained to Dordick who was
responsible for providing medical personnel during the game, he said,
adding that if the Burbank Unified School District was not, it could
be dropped from the claim.
“We believe there are serious issues pertaining to the
availability of medical care for players at this game,” he said. “We
need to investigate who dropped the ball here.”
Local district officials declined to comment on the allegations in
While no Gabrielino coaches are named in the lawsuit, it claims
they forced the junior linebacker to continue playing after he
complained of nausea and head pain.
The claim does name the makers of the helmet Castillo was wearing,
Schutt Manu- facturing Co., saying it was defectively designed and
manufactured. It also claims the helmet was not properly inflated and
neither school had equipment on hand to inflate the helmet.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, and while Dordick would not
speculate on a possible settlement, he said the lifetime cost of
Castillo’s medical care will likely be $5 million to $10 million.