SWOSU to respond in negligence case against coaches


The Custer County District court has summoned three individuals and Southwestern Oklahoma State University for a court hearing involving a negligence case filed in the county.

The university, through President Dr. Randy Beutler, Jared Jackson, Julian Washington and Chet Pobolish are named in the lawsuit as defendants and the four who have been summoned.

The summons, filed Wednesday, requires the defendants to file a written answer within 20 days, or by August 27.

A negligence lawsuit was filed December 9 against the university following an incident in February 2018 where a football player, Skye Singleton, suffered irreparable brain damage, according to the petition filed with the Custer County District Court.

The petition was filed by plaintiffs Skye Singleton and Yolanda Singleton.

Skye was a member of the 2018 SWOSU football team. Yolanda is listed as Skye’s “next friend” in the petition. Pobolish, Jackson and Washington were all three football coaches at the time of the incident.

According to the petition, Skye became ill with cold and flu-like symptoms in February 2018 as a result of the “loss of heat” in his dormitory. Despite his illness, Skye was made to participate in a team workout session.

Skye reported to the SWOSU Wellness Center for the team workout, where he experienced cardiac distress and lost consciousness. According to the petition, the Wellness Center was either not equipped with a portable defibrillator (AED) or it was not used on Skye. In addition, SWOSU coaches and staff allegedly failed to perform CPR on Skye.

When the ambulance arrived on scene, Skye was given medical care, but by that time, the loss of oxygen had already caused “irreparable brain damage” to Skye’s brain, according to the petition.

Following initial medical care, Skye was taken to a medical facility in Oklahoma City. He is now in a long-term care facility near his home in Texas. The petition said Skye’s brain injury is “catastrophic and permanent” due to the lack of oxygen. He is unable to live independently and will require “around-theclock care” for the rest of his life, according to the petition.

At the time of the incident, Pobolish was the head coach for the SWOSU football team, and responsible for the planning and safety for all team activities. Jackson was the strength and conditioning coach, and was responsible for organizing weight lifting and training activities in a safe manner. Washington was the defensive backs coach. Skye was a defensive back for the SWOSU football team, and Washington, as well as Jackson and Pobolish, allegedly failed to provide emergency medical care to Skye.

In the petition, SWOSU is accused of negligence due to its alleged failure to provide its football coaching staff the proper emergency training, and failure to provide an AED to be used by the coaching staff. Pobolish, Jackson and Washington are accused of negligence due to their alleged failure to provide CPR to Skye. SWOSU also is accused of negligent hiring, training and retention of the three coaches.

Skye Singleton and Yolanda Singleton filed the petition, requesting a trial by jury.

Attorneys are scheduled to be in court Monday to appear on the status docket.