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Daily Orange: Syracuse Student Suffering Head Injury

Daily Orange: Marc Held, Partner, Held & Hines, LLP, Quoted Re: Student Suffering Head Injury

Former SU student sues university due to head injury

UPDATED: Oct. 6, 2015 at 6:19 p.m.

A former Syracuse University student is suing the university because of a head injury suffered last fall, according to a lawsuit filed in the Kings County (New York) Supreme Court.

Gabriel Sansone is suing SU, along with defendants Tony Chao, a boxing instructor and former Daily Orange art director, and Thomas Smith, who the lawsuit identifies as the Syracuse Boxing Club’s coach. The lawsuit says Chao repeatedly hit Sansone, who was not given headgear, in the head. The incident occurred in a training room in the lower level of the Archbold-Flanagan Gymnasium on Oct. 13, 2014, per the lawsuit.

“In the previous exercise classes/practices that Sansone attended, there was never any intentional contact between any of the members of the club,” Marc Held, Sansone’s attorney, said in an email. “As such, any contact was unexpected and impermissible on campus. Mr. Sansone also never signed any waivers with the school or the club.”

Chao declined to comment. Held is also representing several other clients in civil suits against the university.

Sansone can no longer read, write or watch television, according to the New York Daily News.

The lawsuit states that SU “represented to prospective members who joined the Boxing Sports Club that they would not be subject to any physical contact including any striking or punching to their head during any boxing practice or activity that took place on campus.”

A flier posted on the SU Boxing Club’s Facebook page from Jan. 15, 2015, after the incident took place, advertises sparring, a type of training that includes blows.

Joe Stray, who restarted the boxing program in 2012, told The Daily Orange in February of 2013 the club was created under the condition that it was considered a “shadowboxing” club. No physical sparring was supposed to take place on campus.

Before the incident, Sansone had limited boxing experience and had never experienced a contact drill at SU, per the lawsuit. The lawsuit called Chao’s actions “negligent,” and also took aim at Smith for not intervening.

“It’s been a really tough time,” Sansone said in an email to the New York Daily News. “ It’s challenging not knowing when or if I will be able to return to a normal life.”

Published on October 6, 2015 at 11:55 am

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