In mid-July, CBS 11 carried a brief report about a near-drowning at a University of North Texas swimming pool. A teenager attending an overnight football camp had been pulled from the bottom of the pool by lifeguards around 9 p.m. on July 11 and rushed to the hospital.
The boy survived, but his parents say he hasn't fully recovered. In a lawsuit filed in Dallas County, they say that he is permanently impaired and disfigured. They're seeking upwards of $1 million in damages from Sports International Inc., which sponsored the camp, as well as from Dallas Cowboys Anthony Spencer, Miles Austin and Brandon Carr.
Their rationale for suing the football players, as described in the lawsuit: The camp was called the Anthony Spencer Football Camp. Their son was promised face time with "Anthony Spencer and current and/or former members of the Dallas Cowboys." Thus, the camp was "supervised by and subject to the control of" Spencer and his teammates, who negligently allowed the campers to swim at UNT's pool.
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The suit provides no evidence that any of the players were physically present at the time of the near-drowning, and common sense suggests they probably weren't. Anyone who's gone to this type of sports camp knows the routine: hours of drills by no-name coaches, followed by a brief cameo from a couple of pro athletes.
Sports International Inc. all but spells it out in its FAQs:
Campers learn from outstanding veteran college and high school coaches selected for their ability to coach and teach the game of football. At certain camps the staff is complimented with current and former professional players and coaches who have a passion for sharing their knowledge with young athletes.
Then again, those coaches have pockets that are significantly shallower than those of professional football players. There's not much point in suing them.