Lawsuit: Soccer Team's Hazing Incident Led To Permanent Brain Injuries

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Haley Ellen Hunt, a former Clemson soccer player, has sued players, coaches, and members of the university's administration. The suit alleges she suffered severe injuries when, during a hazing ritual, she was blindfolded, told to blindly sprint as fast as she could, and crashed head-first into a brick wall.

The entire suit tells a fascinating tale of a new, dickhead coach determined to run off the incoming recruits of his predecessor, and a long-standing freshman hazing ritual planned by players, facilitated by coaches, and conveniently ignored by the school's athletic department. The most damning part, though, is the suit's account of exactly what happened that August 2011 night:

Ultimately, the Player Defendants took Ms. Hunt and the other freshmen players to Riggs Field. The Player Defendants commanded Ms. Hunt to enter a dark room adjacent to the field. While in the room, the Player Defendants shouted at Ms. Hunt and forcibly spun her around in circles to disorient her and impair her balance.

The Player Defendants commanded the other freshmen players to perform demeaning acts and calisthenics while still wearing blindfolds.

Immediately after spinning Ms. Hunt in circles, the Player Defendants ordered Ms. Hunt out of the room and commanded her to sprint down the field while wearing a blindfold.

Dizzy and disoriented, Ms. hunt took off in a dead sprint running parallel to the field, but no one stopped her. Instead the Player Defendants shouted at her, commanding that she run faster.

Ms. Hunt complied with the orders to run faster. Unaware of where she was running because of the blindfold, Ms. Hunt veered away from the field and sprinted directly—face first—into a brick wall.

The momentum of Ms. Hunt's collision with the brick wall threw her body backwards, causing her to smash into a nearby table and fall to the ground. The players heard Ms. Hunt scream and observed her clench her bloody face. One player described the sound of Ms. Hunt hitting the brick wall as "metal hitting metal." The impact with the brick wall caused Ms. Hunt to sustain serious injuries to her brain, head, face, and hands. Ms. Hunt was knocked unconscious and had to be physically assisted by the other players.

A few players took Ms. Hunt to the locker room, where they called the Clemson Coach Defendants. Mullinix [an assistant coach] arrived on the scene and called Michelle Bensmen, an athletic trainer for the Team. Some of the players expressed their opinions that an ambulance was necessary; however, Mullinix instructed them not to tell anyone what had happened.

Ms. Hunt was not taken to a hospital. Instead, she was examined by Bensman, who applied a butterfly bandage to her face and sent her to her dorm room without medical attention or any supervision from the Team staff.


After Hunt was taken home, the team went right back to the night's hazing festivities.

In the immediate aftermath, according to the suite, Hunt suffered a concussion, lacerations on her hands and face, facial bruises, and two black eyes that lasted weeks. As time went on, she began to notice trouble concentrating, reading, and constant headaches. Years after her collision, she saw a concussion specialist who found "substantial decreased cognitive function" and implored Hunt to quit soccer for good.


Worst of all is what Hunt alleges was the cover-up. The head coach instructed the team to keep quiet about the matter if they cared about the coaches' jobs. Hunt's angry parents continued agitating for an investigation until the athletic department eventually complied, only to decline any punishment of either players or coaches. Their recommendation was that the soccer team's hazing be done in a "better way" going forward.

To this day, Hunt has to undergo regular neurological treatment, takes daily medicines, and has permanent vision impairments. It is not yet clear if she will ever fully recover from the incident.


In total, Hunt is suing 14 players, three members of the coaching staff, and thirteen members of the Clemson administration for negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery, false imprisonment, and deprivation to her Constitutional right to bodily integrity.

You can read the full suit below.

Hunt v. Radwanski


Photo via @Fitsnews