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US Challenges Field Hockey Player’s $1.7 Million Concussion Win

Sept. 26, 2022, 2:17 PM

The federal government is seeking to upend a former American University field hockey player’s $1.7 million award against the US stemming from an active duty Army doctor’s misdiagnosis of her concussion.

The government is challenging the judgment entered in July 2022 by Judge Reggie B. Walton of the US District Court for the for the District of Columbia in favor of Jennifer Bradley on her medical malpractice claim against the US.

The government will ask the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to find Walton erred in that ruling and in previously denying its motion to dismiss, according to the trial court notice filed Sept. 23.

Bradley was a junior at AU in 2011 when she was hit in the head while playing in a field hockey game against Richmond University. Afterward, she complained of problems with her vision and concentration, as well as fatigue.

The evidence showed that Aaron Williams, a doctor with the US Army, breached the applicable standard of care by ruling out that Bradley had a concussion and not removing her from practice and game participation, Walton said. The doctor initially concluded that Bradley had sinusitis.

Williams was a fellow with the Military Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship. As part of his fellowship, he was working for the sports team physician for American University.

Bradley also established that Williams’ breach caused her injuries, Walton said.

Walton dismissed Bradley’s claims against the NCAA in May 2020, finding she failed to show the actions of the athletic association were the proximate cause of her injury. He also dismissed Bradley’s claims against American University because she had signed an acknowledgment of risk form agreeing to hold the school harmless for injuries on the field.

Bradley filed an appeal in the D.C. Circuit in August, seeking to revive her claims against the NCAA and American University.

Paulson & Nace PLLC represents Bradley.

Schertler Onorato Mead & Sears LLP represents the NCAA.

Walker, Murphy & Nelson LLP represents American University.

The case is Bradley v. Nat’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n, D.D.C., No. 16-cv-00346, notice of appeal 9/23/22.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Hayes in Washington at PHayes@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Brian Flood at bflood@bloomberglaw.com