New information about the 2015 death of high school football player Kenney Bui reveals the 17-year-old suffered a prior concussion just weeks before a game-day play ended his life.
In a just-filed wrongful death lawsuit, Bui’s parents -- Ngon Van Bui and Nguyet-Sen Huynh Le -- claim the school district and the boy's doctor are to blame because they allowed him back on the field too soon after that earlier head injury.
Bui was fatally injured during a football game between Highline and Evergreen high schools on October 2, 2015.
According to court documents, Bui “suffered a concussion while playing in a football game against Nathan Hale High School” on September 4, 2015.
“At that time, he complained of a small headache and was removed from play by his coach pursuant to the guidelines indicated under the Lystedt Law,” the complaint alleges.
At some point during the October 2 game, Bui “was tackled and immediately walked to the sidelines. He complained of a severe headache and then lost consciousness.”
Bui was rushed to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he was taken off life support three days later.
In their complaint filed in King County Superior Court, Bui’s parents claim their son’s doctor diagnosed the September concussion but failed "to communicate the gravity of the medical condition to his patient and parents" -- whose primary language is Vietnamese.
The complaint also alleges that Highline Public Schools allowed Bui "to return to play without fully completing the return to play protocol."
“Defendant HPS (Highline Public Schools) is liable for the negligence of its agents and employees, including its Athletic Director, Coaches and other administrative staff,” the lawsuit claims. It seeks reimbursement for medical and funeral costs, plus unspecified damages “that will be proved at trial.”
On Thursday, lawyer Richard Adler, of Adler-Giersch in Seattle, declined KIRO 7’s request for an interview with the Bui family. However, shortly after his son was injured, Bui's father spoke to KIRO 7 about his concern for other football players.
“I love my son, and I don’t want anything to happen to all the kids in the United States,” Ngon Van Bui said.
KIRO 7 also sought comment from the pediatrician and Highline Public Schools.
Read the full statement below from Tove Tupper, Assistant Director of Communications at Highline Schools:
Kenney’s death was a devastating loss for the Bui family and our entire Highline Public Schools community. The safety of our students is of primary importance, and Highline is a leader in taking measures that continually increase the safety of our student athletes. The lawsuit is currently in litigation and we are unable to comment on specifics of the case.
KIRO 7 has not received a response from the pediatrician.
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