Injured Arizona Prep Star Settles Lawsuits Over Career-Ending Injury

April 14, 2006

A former high school basketball star in Tucson, Ariz., who suffered a career-ending injury when fans tackled him at a championship game has settled lawsuits against the Tucson Unified School District and two students involved in the 2004 mishap.

Joe Kay will receive a total of $3.5 million — $2.9 million from TUSD and $600,000 from the homeowners’ insurance policies of the two students’ parents.

The money will be placed in a tax-free annuity and paid out over the course of Kay’s life, starting in five years.

In February 2004, Kay scored a two-handed slam dunk in the final minutes of the title game for Tucson High Magnet School.

Afterward, fans trampled him in celebration and Kay suffered a torn carotid artery.

He suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed on one side of his body, forcing him to forgo his athletic career.

Kay’s family filed suit against the school district in early 2005 and later against the two students the district named as being responsible.

Most of TUSD’s portion of the settlement will be covered by insurance, said Lauren Eib, director of TUSD risk management.

Kay now is a student at Stanford, majoring in biology and history. He had a volleyball scholarship before his injury and is covering men’s volleyball for The Stanford Daily, the student-run newspaper.

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