Weighty Lawsuit

By Staff

Athletic Management, 17.3, April/May 2005, http://www.momentummedia.com/articles/am/am1703/wulawsuit.htm

The old saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me," holds no water for former Brigham Young University pitcher Scott Koffman. Claiming a weight-training injury ended his hopes of pitching professionally, Koffman filed a $9.2 million suit in U.S. District Court against BYU and one of the schoolís strength and conditioning coaches.

The suit claimed the pitcher suffered three herniated disks in September 2001 after being forced to lift too much weight. While performing an elevated leg press, Koffman says that he tried removing some weight from the press when he was stopped by an assistant strength and conditioning coach who called him a vulgar name, added another 100 pounds, and ordered him to lift. The suit indicated that Koffman suffered the injury on the first repetition he attempted.

Although Koffman participated in 16 games during the season following the injury, he says the pain eventually became too severe to continue his career. He claims it also affected his ability to study, causing his grades to drop. Once drafted by the Baltimore Orioles, Koffman says he is no longer able to be even moderately active and that he will be affected physically and financially for the rest of his life.

In February, BYU indicated that it intended to settle out of court, though terms have not been disclosed. School officials claim they provided Koffman with adequate medical care, although they have not commented on the strength coachís actions.

"We felt that we know his situation well and that we have responded in every way we thought was appropriate," said David Thomas, defense attorney for BYU, in an interview with The Daily Universe. "His medical condition has been serviced by the training room and his back surgeries are all things we have taken care of and paid for. We thought we provided him with good service, and itís unfortunate that he did get an injury, but injuries are not uncommon in athletics."