Family files suit over Drew Swank's death

Published On: Sep 27 2012 06:03:07 PM PDT   Updated On: Sep 27 2012 06:49:19 PM PDT
SPOKANE, Wash. -

The family of Drew Swank, the local teen who died after a hit on the football field, is now suing his former school, their doctor and his football coach.

Swank was playing football for Valley Christian in 2009 when he was hit by a player on the opposing team. He lost consciousness and was flown to Sacred Heart Medical Center where he died.

In the lawsuit filed last week, Swank's parents accuse his former football coaches, a school administrator, the family doctor and the school of neglecting Drew's medical conditions, which they said ultimately led to his death.

According to the lawsuit, on September 18, 2009, Swank suffered a hit while playing in a high school football game. That hit caused him to have "severe headaches." Court documents allege he wasn't examined at any point during or after the game by his coaches.

Two days later he was taken to his family doctor, Timothy Burns, who diagnosed Swank with a concussion and put him on a "no practice, no play" order until the headaches stopped.

A few days later Drew told his mom, the headaches were gone. Swank's mom Patti said she called Dr. Burns, who then cleared the teen to play without examining him again.

On September 25 Swank suited up again and took the field. According to the lawsuit, "during the game, Andrew exhibited signs and symptoms consistent with a head injury." He was sluggish, weak and had poor judgment.

Court documents say his coach, Jim Puryear, called Swank to the sidelines and "grabbed him by the face mask and proceeded to violently shake his head up and down in anger." Swank's parents believe "the violent shaking of Andrew's head caused or contributed to the second impact syndrome that resulted" in his death.

Later on in the game Swank was hit by a player on the opposing team. He "staggered to the sidelines, vomited and collapsed."

"He just said my head hurts and his dad was trying to take his helmet off and he said dad don't take my helmet off, I'm going to throw up and that was it he collapsed," Patti Swank said.

Four days later he died.

Calls were made to the school's attorney, Dr. Burns and Drew's former football coach for comment on this story but none had comment or responded to calls for comment before this story was published.

The Swank family attorney said he couldn't comment on the lawsuit without the family's permission.