A former Temple football player is suing the Detroit Lions, claiming a piece of falling metal struck him in the head at the Super Regional Combine at Ford Field in April 2014.
In a case filed Tuesday in Wayne County Circuit Court, Shahid Paulhill and his attorneys are seeking in excess of $25,000 from the Lions and the Downtown Detroit Building Authority.
A defensive lineman at Temple from 2009-13, Paulhill claims “a section of tubular metal approximately two feet in length fell from above” and struck him in the head. The metal was “improperly secured or maintained,” according to the lawsuit.
Lions spokesman Bill Keenist and NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy both declined comment on the lawsuit.
The NFL invited 240 players to the Super Regional Combine in 2014. The event is effectively an opportunity for players who weren’t invited to the NFL Combine to impress scout before the draft. Paulhill earned an invitation to Ford Field after impressing at a regional combine in Miami.
“He was stretching out, warming up,” said Rodney Ardoin, Paulhill’s agent. “A pipe fell from the sky, as he told me, and it was propped up on the side, an iron pipe, and it hit it in his head.”
Paulhill’s attorney, Michael Norman, said he’s in the process of talking to other people who were at the tryout in 2014. Norman said he started working on the case a couple weeks ago and is still doing discovery for the case, which has a status conference scheduled for May 17.
Ardoin wasn’t at the event at Ford Field, but said officials told him Paulhill couldn’t participate after the alleged head injury.
In the suit, Paulhill claims the injury was a result of negligence by the Lions and the building authority and a failure to provide a reasonably safe premise.
The lawsuit says the injury resulted in severe bodily injury that continues to require medical attention, shock and emotional damage, inability to attend his usual affairs, loss of earnings and earning capacity and disability.
After going undrafted, Paulhill never caught on with an NFL team. He also participated in the Veterans Combine last March. Ardoin said he recently signed with a Canadian Football League team.