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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Family Of Fallen Athlete Intends To Sue

Teen Collapsed, Died During Basketball Game On 18th Birthday
POSTED: Monday, February 28, 2011
UPDATED: 4:41 pm EST February 28, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- For Harvetta and Phillip Jackson Jr., announcing their intent to file a lawsuit in the wake of their son's death was almost as difficult as the day he died.

"It destroyed me," Harvetta Jackson said of her son's death. "It was his 18th birthday. It was an awful day."
"It's just such a horrible tragedy," she said. "I look at pictures of him, and I can't believe he's gone."

In December 2009, Phillip Jackson III collapsed during halftime of a holiday basketball tournament at Terry Parker High School.
"When we were called back there, to see him facedown, I said, 'Son, what's wrong? What's up? And it was shocking," Phillip Jackson Jr. said.

Phillip Jackson III (right) stands with his mom during his football team's senior night at Sandalwood High School.
The Sandalwood senior football and basketball player and father never regained consciousness. He died from sudden cardiac arrest.

Attorney Steve Pajcic said Jackson's death could have been prevented. He said the coaches and police officers there should have tried to save him instead of waiting for an emergency medical technician to arrive.

Pajcic also blames the 911 operator for not giving the caller CPR instructions.
"If they're in a situation where someone lost consciousness, you call 911 and you do CPR," he said.

Pajcic and Jackson's parents have sent a letter to the city, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the Duval County School Board and two state agencies asking for a change in the system. They want to make sure this never happens again. "If left up to me, no one else's child will ever die from someone not calling 911 immediately or not doing CPR to help your child," Harvetta Jackson said.
The School Board said it hasn't yet received the paperwork and said it is too soon to comment.

The family is seeking monetary damages up to $200,000. The law firm said it will not take any money that comes out of the case, but if any does come, it will be given to Phillip Jackson III's son, who was 14 months old when he died.