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Mother blames football helmet in death of high school player in California


RIVERSIDE, California — The mother of a high school football player who collapsed during a game in Southern California has filed a lawsuit blaming his helmet for his death.

Tina York has sued Riddell, the company that made the helmet, and subsidiary Gunther's Athletic Service, which reconditioned it, the Riverside Press-Enterprise ( ) reported Tuesday.

The suit says the firms had reason to know the helmet was defective but failed to warn anybody.

Riddell says the company does not comment on pending litigation. No one answered the phone at Gunther's office in Anaheim.

York's lawyer, Patricia Law, said 16-year-old Tyler Lewellen had significant swelling of his brain despite suffering only a glancing hit to his head during a play.

"What happened was a brain injury of epic proportions. It's the type of injury ... that we see when people fall from 10 stories up and hit their heads or are in horrific collisions ... at 100 mph," Law told the newspaper.

Lewellen attended Arlington High School in Riverside. He went into convulsions and collapsed on the bench on Aug. 22, 2013, following a scrimmage at Rubidoux High School. He went into a coma and died six days later.

The lawsuit does not ask for a specific amount of money, but it notes that the family had to pay medical and funeral expenses.

Information from: The Press-Enterprise,

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