Former wrestler suing Boise State over concussion treatment

By Brian Murphy

Former Boise State heavyweight wrestler Samuel Zylstra has filed suit against Boise State and the state of Idaho for more than $10,000 for negligence related to his treatment after suffering a concussion in a match, according to a complaint filed in District Court.

In court documents, Zylstra claims he was concussed in his first match at the 2010 Pac-10 wrestling championships on Feb. 26. He said he was allowed to continue that match after a brief suspension and also wrestle in subsequent matches on the 26th and 27th.

Zylstra said he suffered from impaired vision, severe bleeding, headaches, cognitive impairment and memory loss after the Pac-10 meet.

Zylstra withdrew from the NCAA meet with an injury, according to an Idaho Statesman story.

In the complaint, Zylstra said he was insulted and criticized by coaches and teammates for refusing to participate in the NCAA Championships. After the Pac-10 meet, his school performance and performance in ROTC activities suffered. Due to the injuries, Zylstra says, he dropped out of school, was dropped from the ROTC program and discharged from the Army reserves.

His behavior became very erratic, including uncharacteristic bursts of anger, the complaint states.

Zylstra alleges that Boise State "breached (its) duty by instructing and/or allowing (him) to continue wrestling following the suspension of action in the first match and further breached that duty by instructing and/or allowing him to wrestle throughout the remainder of the championships."

The suit argues that the treatment "constituted a substantial departure from the standard of care constituting gross negligence."

Zylstra's Spokane, Wash.-based attorney Geoffrey Swindler said his client must prove "that Boise State did not follow the standard of care and he suffered injuries as a result of their failure to do that."

Zylstra is asking for general damages in excess of $10,000 as well as money for past, present and future medical bills, interest on all medical and out-of-pocket expenses and money for lost income, wages and earning capacity.

Boise State issued a statement to the Statesman about the case. "The university is aware of the filing and will defer to the process of the judicial system," the school said.

He hired a lawyer

named Swindler?


I think I would change my name.


He is with the firm of Scroom and Scram.


Formerly of the Law Firm Dewey, Cheatum, & Howe.

Could he go pro?

If he's big enough to be a professional wrassler, I believe that "cognitive impairment, memory loss and uncharacteristic bursts of anger" are all GOOD things.

(Too bad he got injured. Must've been a victim of the "Atomic Drop," or maybe the "Flying Head-Scissors.")


I hope he wins and take BSU to the cleaners

You do?

Shocking comment coming from you. Anything new? thought naught.

Accept responsibilty

For your own actions!

Yeh BSU, accept responsibility!

bcuz0 I'm sure you realize that when a person has a head injury, they probably are not making well thought out choices, like being shamed by their coach into continuing the activity which got them injured. Right?

Good for you, young man!

I'm so glad this fellow is holding the school responsible for his after care treatment. When a person has a head injury, they are immediatly placed in a condition where they need someone else to advocate for their well being. And to have the coach jeer at them for not wanting to continue, disgusting. Of course the school should have to pay for all his medical care. And lost opportunity costs.

If I ever sue anyone

I want you on my jury! You don't have a single fact and you have already decided who wins.......


See here, I did not know I was being interviewed for jury service. Somehow I got the impression I was commenting on a story on line. And my opinion was based on the facts reported in the story. My bad. I guess.

Oops is right.....

"my opinion was based on the facts"

The only "fact" reported was that one party was suing another party.

Your "opinion" was that one party was at fault, which has zero factual basis....

Your bad is right

Funny they forgot to say

funny the story didnt tell you that sam used drugs that caused mental break downs way before the pac 10 tournament and that his racist comments to African American people in the practice room is why a lot of people did not like him he is just mad that he didnt make the wwe which he did try out and still calls the president the big N word when something doesnt go his way the truth will come out and i am behind the great coaching staff at BSU which always put the kids before winning go broncos good luck at NCAA in next couple of weeks


That's hearsay. Unless you have solid proof, it's just your word. You could be totally telling the truth, but if it can't be proven...

No offense, but society runs on provable evidence.

Evidence aplenty

Zylstra repeatedly (and foolishly) made racist comments. That is a FACT that is known to all who KNEW him when he was wrestling at Boise State. In fact he refused to wrestle against the lone African American wrestler on the team at that time - who also competed at his same weight class.

I am a conservative and a Boise State wrestling fan and I was NEVER a fan of Zylstra when he was wrestling for Boise State because I knew what he was all about. His openly racist comments were offensive and ridiculous. But then again he iz simply a product of the people who "raised" him.

That being said he will most likely win his case and be "rewarded" after years of court battles because that is what happens these days. Get a concussion and then SUE the school that you used to wrestle for and represented (poorly).

What I mean is...

That I don't know this as fact, and would be required to take other peoples' word. As such, I cannot accept it as fact because, for me, it is hearsay. Only those that have first-hand accounts if this can determine it as fact. It prevents people like me from forming opinions based on stuff we don't know 100%.

Just trying to be objective.


take a breath. That's one of the longest run-on sentences I've ever seen.

Good for you Citizen

This story only tells one side of the story - the Swindler lawyer's story.............


ok I have been there, the trainers at BSU don't care about the sport or the competition they care about the athletes and generally always error on the side of shutting the kids down to protect them, they are always at odds with the coaches as a result. Did the coaches get on the kid because he wouldn't go, yea probably but what's the lawsuit about hurtful words? Really, you are a wrestler you know the deal, man up and move on.

Samuel Zylstra better swap

Samuel Zylstra better swap that singlet for a tutu. What a disgraceful human. No personal responsibility?


BSU cares only about the kids? If he was a terrible person and racist then BSU should have kicked him off the team and not try to get him to continue to wrestle. Was winning more important? He has a head injury and needs treatment? BSU should have done what they could to help him. Unless winning was more important?

More then meets the eye

I talked with Zylstra a couple years ago about this. After informing me about how emails were sent to his parents and doctors explaining how Zylstra suffers as a result of drug abuse (funny in of itself, he's a health nut) he was refused treatment for his head injury. A lot of people told Zylstra he needs to take action. Zylstra wanted to let if go! He didn't want to hurt the BSU wrestling team's name. His health and crushed up life is more important than BSU money. He still has a hard time reading from his head injury. Its why he couldn't finish school. He can't remember anything, including a large portion of the year he got hurt. I have never seen a man like Zylstra. He refuses to give up. He has a beautiful wife a child to take care of, and refuse to let them down.
And as for the racism, silly. With male comradery, comes poking fun at one another for anything and everything. You should have heard some of the things they use to poke fun at when Zylstra was the subject. People hide behind the politically correct things to say as a weapon. Everyone has said something with a sense of racism at some point in their life. Nobody pays close attention to things like this until they need to use it against someone.
I love BSU wrestling, but they need to take responsibility for their actions. They destroyed this man's life by letting him wrestle with a known concussion, and when they cut off his resources for medical attention out of fear of being sued.