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Dallas Cowboys players named in lawsuit after near drowning at UNT

Dallas Cowboys players named in lawsuit after near drowning at UNT

Dallas Cowboys players named in lawsuit after near drowning at UNT
October 14
08:27 2013

Edward Balusek / Staff Photographer

The parents of a 13-year-old boy who nearly drowned last July while attending a football camp at UNT have filed suit against Dallas Cowboys players alleging negligence, according to the Dallas County Civil District case records.

James Jackson Sr. and Paula Jackson filed the suit Sept. 29 and are seeking more than $1 million in compensation. The teen remains on a ventilator, according to an NBC Internet story released on Sept. 25.

Defensive end Anthony Spencer, wide receiver Miles Austin, cornerback Brandon Carr and former Cowboy Sterling Moore were the players involved in the camp.

The case record states that the camp was supervised by and subject to the control of the four Cowboys players.

The Jacksons have also named Sports International Inc. in the lawsuit, which is the camp’s coordinating company.

Dallas Cowboy defensive end Anthony Spencer. Photo courtesy of nflplayers.com

Dallas Cowboy defensive end Anthony Spencer. Photo courtesy of nflplayers.com

“We’re going to have to let the court system do its job in presenting all the facts and evidence,” said Thomas W. Fee, attorney for Sports International Inc.

The Dallas Cowboys declined to comment.

The teenager was swimming July 11 with other campers inside the Physical Education Building swimming pool as a part of the camp’s organized activities when the incident occurred, said Deborah Leliaert, vice president of University Relations, Communications and Marketing.

Five American Red Cross certified UNT lifeguards rescued the boy about 9:30 p.m., administered emergency first aid and called the Denton Fire Department.

The teen was taken to Denton Regional Hospital and then transferred to Medical City Hospital in Dallas, Leliaert said.

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr looks on during the Cowboys training camp, Monday, July 22, 2013, in Oxnard, Calif. Photo courtesy of Gus Ruelas / AP Photo

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr looks on during the Cowboys training camp, Monday, July 22, 2013, in Oxnard, Calif. Photo courtesy of Gus Ruelas / AP Photo

Leliaert said the university believes the lifeguards’ names are protected and has asked the Office of the Texas Attorney General to issue an open records ruling on the same.

According to the NBC story, the teen suffered considerable brain damage and cannot do much of anything on his own.

“He’s still struggling to survive,” Paula Jackson said in the NBC story. “All his emotions are gone.”

Paula Jackson also said she never gave permission for her son to go swimming, especially because he didn’t know how to swim, according to the story.

UNT housed the campers and coaches at Traditions Hall and West Hall, and rented out several spaces for them to use during their stay.

The number of campers swimming that night is unknown. However, about 300 kids attended the camp, according to summer housing records.

The university is conducting an internal investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident, Leliaert said.

All UNT lifeguards have been instructed not to comment on the situation.

UNT has not been named in any lawsuits related to the incident.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin on the sidelines during the fourth quarter of the game against the St Louis Rams at Cowboys Stadium. Feature photo courtesy of Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

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