• 79°

Cannons file suit over baseball injury

By By Sherry Digmon
Advance Staff Writer
A former Escambia County High School student has filed suit for a head injury sustained during baseball practice on March 15, 1999.
Michael Franklin Cannon Jr., 15, and his parents Michael F. (Mickey) Cannon and Lee D. Cannon filed suit in the Circuit Court of Escambia County on April 3.
The suit names the Escambia County Board of Education, Escambia County High School, Donnie Faulk and Keith Nall. Faulk and Nall are baseball coaches at ECHS.
Attorneys for the Cannons and the school board were not available for comment.
On advice of counsel, Mickey Cannon's comments were limited.
The plaintiffs list four causes of action in the suit.
The suit alleges that the defendants negligently and wantonly:
* conducted baseball practice without regard for the safety of the individual players;
* hit a baseball into a group of players who were not wearing batting helmets;
* allowed players/students at Escambia County High School to stand in a live-ball area during batting drills without a batting helmet;
* failed to warn Michael Franklin Cannon Jr., of the inherent dangers, including the risk of closed head injury, while standing in live-ball territory without a batting helmet;
* failed to follow applicable rules as set out by the National Federation of State High School Associations and the Alabama High School Athletic Association;
* failed to properly train and/or supervise the coaches employed at Escambia County High School;
* allowed a baseball to be hit into a group of players who were not wearing batting helmets; and/or
* responded to Michael Franklin Cannon Jr.'s injury.
The suit states that as a result of the conduct cited above, Michael Cannon "sustained a closed head injury resulting in permanent brain damage." He has undergone medical care and treatment and will require further treatment.
Grounds for the suit also include continuing severe headaches, loss of future income, emotional and mental distress, and medical expenses.
In two causes of action, Michael Cannon Jr. is suing by and through his father for general compensatory damages plus interest plus costs and punitive damages plus interest and costs.
In the other two causes of action, his parents are suing for compensatory and punitive damages plus interest plus costs.
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, Rule 1-1 states, "It is mandatory for on-deck batters, batters, runners, retired runners, players/students in the coaches boxes as well as non-adult bat/ball shaggers to wear a batting helmet that meets the NOCSAE standard."
However, a spokesman for the Alabama High School Athletic Association said Tuesday he is not aware of any rules that govern practice.
Michael Cannon Jr. currently attends Escambia Academy.