Kenney Bui, a high school football player in Oregon who died days after an on-field injury, had suffered a concussion several weeks earlier and his father had begged him not to play football gain, according to new reports.
The autopsy by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Bui, a 17-year-old from Evergreen High, died from blunt force trauma on what onlookers at the time described as a routine play in an Oct. 2 game.
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Bui was rushed to the hospital when he lost consciousness on the sideline while being examined by athletic trainers and underwent emergency surgery. He remained in critical condition for two days before passing away on Oct. 5.
Highline School District Superintendent Susan Enfield confirmed an interview with Q13 Fox News that Bui had suffered a concussion earlier this season.
“He was seen by a doctor and cleared by a doctor before he even beginning our concussion protocol,” she said. “It’s a good, at least a two-week process before a student can even come back after that.”
Asked directly if Bui had been cleared before the game in which he was injured, Enfield said, “Absolutely.”
In an excellent piece that is well worth your time by Les Carpenter in The Guardian, Kenney’s father, Ngon, says he threatened not to sign the school district consent form that acknowledged he knew about the concussion. Kenney had been removed from a Sept. 4 game and then was cleared 13 days later. Father had told son about a news story he saw about a high school player who had died in a game. Kenney was among four high school football players to die in the month of September.
“Anything like school or work, my wife and I make the decision. When a sport comes in, he makes his own decision no matter what. We would not be able to stop him. He makes his own decision,” Ngon says.
In the Bui family’s culture, Kenney was old enough to defy his parents’ wishes. Ngon could urge his boy to stop but was not allowed to say no.
Terri McMahan, the athletic director for the Highline School District, had made developing concussion protocols and establishing injury standard part of the athletic department operation as part of her efforts to rebuild the programs after her arrival in 2010. McMahan told The Guardian that she wonders if Bui might have had another concussion between Sept. 4 and his last game. Perhaps he was reluctant to reveal another injury after the first had cost him two weeks of his senior season.
“It’s devastating, Its my worst nightmare. It’s any athletic administrator’s worst nightmare: to lose a child doing what they love to do, and not being able to prevent it,” she said.