ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a common snack now at the center of a very uncommon lawsuit. A New Mexico teen claims Albuquerque Public Schools should have stopped a “food fight” before it got out of hand and injured him.
The La Cueva High School football player says a small, stale granola bar could have blinded him. Even though it didn’t, it’s something he says he’ll be dealing with for the rest of his life.
“There was a locker room frickus that occurred,” said Jeffery Trespel, an attorney representing the family.
There was no grid-iron collision, but a new lawsuit claims in Fall 2017, a then 15-year-old junior varsity player did get hit by a stale granola bar.
“There was a granola bar that was thrown by one student-athlete at another one and hit my client in the eye and seriously damaged his eye,” said Trespel.
The granola bar tore the student’s retina, led to three surgeries, the end of the student’s football career and life-long problems.
“His eyesight is never going to be at full 20/20 again. He has to wear a special contact lens, even now his eyesight is variable from day to day,” said Trespel.
Trespel claims these problems could have been avoided.
“The design of that locker room was faulty. It was designed in such a way that coaches couldn’t supervise the students and you can’t leave 15-year-old boys, in a football practice environment, by themselves,” said Trespel.
Trespel says if they had been able to hear or see what was happening away from their offices, they could’ve intervened.
“When things started getting out of hand, things started getting thrown, some coach should’ve stepped forward and said okay boys that’s enough and that could’ve prevented this,” said Trespel.
With college on the horizon for the now-senior student who wants to be an engineer — he worries about his eye getting worse, and he wants to APS held accountable.
Trespel said they interviewed six other students in the locker room that day who said it was not unusual for coaches to turn a blind eye. He also said there should have been barriers in the locker room to keep kids from throwing things around.
The teen’s attorney said the medical bills cost the family more than $25,000. APS said it does not comment on pending lawsuits.