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

Dec 9, 2022, 5:45 AM | Updated: 6:50 am
(Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)...
(Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

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.

Local News

Cold Seattle...
Bill Kaczaraba

Frigid, but sunny start to the workweek in Puget Sound

It will be a frigid, but sunny start to the workweek in Puget Sound with highs only in the 30s.
1 day ago
Lynnwood protests...
Bill Kaczaraba

Opioid center protesters admit they lost the war

A few dozen protesters fighting against a new opioid treatment center admit they lost the war over the location in Lynnwood, but will continue to fight for children's safety and transparency of the process.
1 day ago
Jake Chapman

Organizations continue to push for sex trafficking awareness

Human trafficking continues to be a big problem across the world, including here in the Pacific Northwest.
1 day ago
lunar new year...
Gwen Baumgardner, KIRO 7 News

Hundreds gather at Seattle’s Wing Luke Museum to ring in the Lunar New Year

The Wing Luke Museum welcomed anyone to join in their annual event, and hundreds of families came together for a day of performances, music, and tradition.
2 days ago
Frank Sumrall

Seattle Kraken’s best-kept secret this year? Goalie coach Steve Briere

Martin Jones was a cast-off. Grubauer lost his edge. And the Kraken's defense looked bleak — until goalie coachSteve Briere showed up.
2 days ago
Jake Chapman, KIRO 7 News

Vigil in place at intersection where 23-year-old was hit and killed by SPD officer

Friday evening, dozens of cyclists dedicated their ride to Kandula. They started at Westlake Center and made their way to the intersection.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
District to pay $5M over teen’s death at football practice