Jury finds Riddell helmets negligent in case of partially paralyzed football player

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DENVER -- Nearly five years after suffering life-changing injuries from a football related concussion, a southern Colorado family is claiming victory in a legal battle against the makers of a popular sports helmet.

In August 2008, 17-year-old Rhett Ridolfi was take to a Denver hospital after suffering severe side-effects of a football-related injury. Years later, doctors determined the teen had suffered from serious brain damage and would require around-the-clock care for decades to come.

"He has no judgment control. He has no concerns for safety for himself...he's missing the part of the brain we all have that controls those things," said Ridolfi's attorney Frank Azar. Over the weekend, Azar helped the Ridolfi family secure a mutli-million dollar verdict against the makers of the teen's football helmet -- Riddell.

The company, which plans to appeal the judgment, released a statement to FOX31 Denver.

"While disappointed in the jury’s decision not to fully exonerate Riddell, we are pleased the jury determined that Riddell’s helmet was not defective in any way.  We are confident that the jury would have reached a different conclusion had the Court not erroneously excluded the testimony of our warnings expert. We intend to appeal this verdict, and we remain steadfast in our belief that Riddell designs and manufactures the most protective football headgear for the athlete.”

This latest legal battle comes less than a week after roughly 4,000 former NFL players began filing legal claims against Riddell and the National Football League for claims of negligence in concussion related injuries.

A judge is expected to take several months before deciding if the lawsuit will move forward.

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