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City of Spokane Valley, WA
Swank family files lawsuit


Managing Editor


The family of Drew Swank, who died in 2009 after suffering a head injury playing football, has filed a lawsuit against Valley Christian School.

The wrongful death claim has also been filed against an administrator, football coaches and a family doctor for negligence.

Swank was playing in a game against LaCrosse-Washtucna when he collapsed after suffering a head injury following a block near the end of the first half. The 17-year-old suffered severe hemorrhaging and multiple strokes as a result.

Swank was airlifted to Sacred Heart Medical Center, underwent three surgeries, fell into a coma and died two days later.

Valley Christian School no longer fields a football team. Swank was among the inaugural squad in 2007 that had 14 other players.

The lawsuit, filed by Drew’s parents Donald and Patricia Swank, alleges that Swank hadn’t fully healed from a concussion he suffered in a game a week prior. It also alleges that Drew Swank had not been examined by head coach Jim Puryear, assistant coach Mike Heden or school headmaster Derick Tabish.

Swank was eventually examined by the family doctor the following Monday. The physician, Tim Burns, diagnosed Swank with a concussion but cleared him to play in the Sept. 18, 2009, game without a follow-up examination, the lawsuit alleges.

At the time of Swank’s death, Puryear told a Spokane Valley News Herald reporter, “This is not anyone’s fault. This particular injury is very rare.”

Due to the lawsuit, which seeks no specific monetary demand, those involved are not giving any public comments.


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Contact: Steve Barge
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TheSpokane Valley News Herald
is the City of Spokane Valley, Washington's official Newspaper. The City Council of the City of Spokane Valley, Washington named the Spokane Valley News Herald as the city's "official" newspaper. The designation means the Spokane Valley News Herald will publish the city's legal notices on a contract basis for one year.

E-mail: vnh@onemain.com
Phone: (509) 924-2440
2011 Valley News Articles Archive
2010 Valley News Articles Archive