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Family of injured player sues BUSD

Ben Godar

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

early January.

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,”

Dordick said.

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

the lawsuit.

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.