Darren Hamblin said his lawsuit against football helmet manufacturer Riddell that survived a motion to dismiss last week is geared at getting parents of young children to consider the risks of playing tackle football.
Hamblin’s son, Cody, died in 2016 at age 22 after a seizure that preceded a drowning. Cody’s brain was found to have Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a traumatic brain injury, according to the lawsuit.
Cody started playing football at age 8 and continued through his senior year of high school in Miamisburg.
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“The end result I’m looking for is to help children, minors, maybe not go through brain damage,” Hamblin told this news organization. “This is what my son would want. Cody would want to help other kids not get brain damage.
“I can tell you right now even as an 8-year-old kid, if he thought he was going to get hurt playing football from wearing helmets, he wouldn’t have done it, he just wouldn’t have played, even though he loved it.
“I just know who he was, he wouldn’t put himself through that. We didn’t think he would get hurt, he didn’t think he’d get hurt. Not a little kid. They’re tough as nails.”
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Darren Hamblin said at first he didn’t fully understand the relevance of Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Dankof’s motion to dismiss ruling that five of six allegations could continue. That may open the door to Riddell internal documents about known risks.
“A consultant called me and said have you heard this and I went ‘no.’ They were pretty elated, and since I’m not really in the law community, I’m like ‘Let me think about this.’ I didn’t know at first how important it was,” Hamblin said. “The lawyers that we’re working with, they want to go to trial. … They think they have a case that can go all the way to a jury, and that’s really what they want to do.”
Hamblin said he wants helmet manufacturers to take responsibility and maybe be part of an effort for research that leads to a living diagnosis and treatment of brain injuries.
RELATED: Dad of late ex-Miamisburg football player sues helmet makers
In a statement last week, Riddell said Hamblin’s allegations should have been dismissed.
“The plaintiff’s allegations face many other challenges before they could ever reach a trial,” the statement read, in part, “and Riddell is confident in its defense to these meritless claims.”
Hamblin said it was painful to relive his son’s situation when he wrote a chapter of the book “Brain Damaged: 2 minute warnings for parents” and that he didn’t want his son just be known as a football player.
“Basically, I shake my head every time I look at it,” Hamblin said of the sign outside his house that show’s his son’s No. 13. ” I don’t know what to think. I’m just sad and guilty and everything else that goes with it.”
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Cody Hamblin died May 29, 2016, in Fayetteville, Ohio, when he was fishing with his grandfather. Cody Hamblin had a sudden seizure while on a boat, fell overboard and died within a minute, according to the suit.
“That’s one of the reasons we went down this path,” Hamblin said. “The day that he passed away, he was talking to his grandfather on the boat about concussions. He told his grandfather he might have some effects from concussions, which I never heard that before.”
Darren Hamblin’s eyes glistened when he said he thinks of his son at 8 years old and full of love.
“I don’t know which age would be appropriate (for tackle football),” he said. “I do know a 6-, 7-, 8-, through 12-year-old is probably way too young to be hitting each other in the head over and over and over in practices and in games.”
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The Dayton Daily News has provided in-depth coverage of the 2016 death of Cody Hamblin in a drowning that came after the former Miamisburg High School football player had a seizure and fell from a boat. Ohio lawmakers created a CTE Awareness Day, recognizing Hamblin. The Daily News will continue to cover his father’s lawsuit against a football helmet maker.
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