Former PSU football player sues following concussion

Former PSU football player sues following concussion »Play Video
Zach Walen (34) is suing Portland State University, OHSU and the NCAA because he says all three organizations didn't follow standards for handling concussions.

PORTLAND, Ore. – A former football player for the Portland State Vikings is suing the school, saying he has lasting effects after doctors and trainers didn’t treat him appropriately when he suffered a concussion in a game.

The lawsuit seeks a total of $5 million, and it is targeted at Portland State University, OHSU and the NCAA.

The attorney for Zach Walen says all three organizations didn’t follow their own standards for handling concussions. He says those standards are in place because everyone, including players, is anxious to ignore the warning signs that someone hasn’t recovered from a concussion.

Walen was a freshman linebacker at Portland State in 2012 when his attorney says he suffered that concussion during his first game.

The lawsuit contends that Walen has permanent brain injuries that have left him suffering from depression, and that he was allowed to continue playing football even though tests showed he hadn’t fully recovered from his concussion.

“They didn’t follow up,” said Robert Beatty-Walters, Walen’s attorney. “They put him back into playing action before he had completed all the follow-up necessary for the impact tests that were done. His baseline – he was never back to his baseline.”

KATU contacted Portland State University for comment on the lawsuit. PSU officials said they hadn’t seen the lawsuit yet so they couldn’t comment.

The lawsuit contends the doctors and the school had a higher responsibility to care for Walen after that concussion, because the nature of that brain injury left Walen without the ability to make those care decisions for himself.