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Lawsuit over Wyandotte Elementary School playground death... - KOAM TV 7

Lawsuit over Wyandotte Elementary School playground death settled

Alyssa Avila Alyssa Avila

Updated October 24, 2013:  FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS -

MIAMI, Okla. (AP) - The mother of a 9-year-old girl who died after falling off school playground equipment at Wyandotte Elementary School has settled a lawsuit against the school district and two companies.

Fourth-grader Alyssa Avila died in August 2010 after falling from an X-Wave - which resembles a teeter-totter.

Attorney Mark Ramsey for Alyssa's mother - Cathy Collins - confirmed the settlement to The Oklahoman, but said a confidentiality agreement prevents him from releasing details. Wyandotte Superintendent Troy Gray told the Tulsa World on Thursday that the equipment has been removed and called the girl's death "a tragic accident."

The X-Wave resembles a teeter-totter.

The company that makes the X-Wave and the company that sold it to the school did not immediately return phone calls for comment.

# # #

Updated November 21, 2011:  The mother of a student who died after falling off school playground equipment files a lawsuit against two playground companies and the Wyandotte, Oklahoma School District.

Autopsy results revealed nine year old Alyssa Avila died of a severe concussion after an accident at the Wyandotte Elementary School playground in August 2010.

Authorities say the girl fell from an X-Wave, which resembles a teeter-totter.  After Avila's death the school removed the X-Wave from the playground and at least six other Oklahoma school districts followed suit, either removing the toys or keeping children off of them.

On October 27, 2011 the child's mother, Cathy Collins, filed suit in Ottawa County district court.  She is suing the Minnesota company that made the equipment, an Oklahoma company that sold the equipment to the school, as well as the Wyandotte School District.

Updated January 5, 2010 at 4:00 PM CST:  From the report of investigation by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner:

OPINION

Reportedly, this 9-year-old girl experienced a fall and a blow to the head that caused immediate unresponsiveness and death. Witnesses reported that she fell off and was struck in the head by a piece of playground equipment and the witnesses also stated that she became unresponsive almost immediately. Bystanders and EMS performed CPR before she was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced. Autopsy did show a small contusion to the right parietal aspect of the scalp; however no significant external or internal injuries were identified and other studies such as histology (including examination of the conduction system of the heart), toxicology, vitreous electrolyte analysis, and blood bacterial cultures were non-contributory.

Records were reviewed from EMS (Dispatch ID# 08191063-3) and from the emergency department from Integris Baptist Regional Health Center. No significant injuries to the head or neck were mentioned although blood was noted within the nose and mouth and a chest thoracostomy tube did express blood. It is felt that these findings were iatrogenic as no injuries were found at autopsy which gave a plausible explanation. With the information derived from the witnesses together with the results of the autopsy, the most probable cause of death is due to complications of commotio cerebri.

Commotio cerebri is a known cause of sudden death due to autonomic dysfunction in the absence of physiologic etiology at autopsy. The mechanism is thought to be traumatic diffuse axonal injury caused by rotational injury to the brain usually sustained by a blow to the head or a fall. When lethal, this severe concussion causes unresponsiveness and death almost immediately. It is not clear if the initial fall or blow to the head caused the concussion or if they acted synergistically. The manner of death is ruled as an accident. 

Updated January 5, 2010 at 11:45 AM CST:  Authorities say a nine-year-old Wyandotte, Oklahoma student who died on the playground this past August died from a severe concussion.

Alyssa Avila had been playing on the school playground when she fell off a piece of equipment known as an X-Wave.

When she stood up the teeter totter hit her in the head, killing her.  However, two doctors examined the girl after the accident and saw no signs of trauma.

Today the state medical examiner's office says Alyssa suffered a concussion and that the manner of death was accidental.

The family's attorney says the fourth grade student was healthy and had no medical problems.

Alyssa's family is trying to settle a claim against the Minnesota company that manufactured the X-Wave.

Updated November 29, 2010 12:30 PM CST:  It has been three months and the autopsy of a Wyandotte, Oklahoma girl is still not back, leading to frustration for the family of Alyssa Avila.

The nine year old died while playing on a Wyandotte school playground after falling off a piece of equipment known as an X-Wave.

Attorneys say it is still not known exactly what caused her death last August.

A spokesman with the state medical examiners office says most autopsies take from three to six months to complete.

Two doctors examined the girl after the accident and saw no signs of trauma.

Updated August 26, 2010 02:32 PM CST:  Some schools are considering pulling equipment off their playground after last week's death of a Wyandotte girl at school.

Fourth grade student Alyssa Avila died last week after falling from an X-Wave teeter totter, then hitting her head.

Although the exact cause of death is still under investigation, six schools in Oklahoma say they are re-thinking similar equipment in their schoolyards.

Xccent Incorporated makes the X-Wave and says it will not discuss its products or how many have been sold to schools until authorities give an official cause of death.

Updated August 24, 2010 - 2:25 PM CST:  Funeral services have been scheduled for Alyssa Avila.  Services will be Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Wyandotte High School gym.

Updated August 20, 2010 - 5:00 PM CST:  On Friday reporter Chantee Lans spoke with Wyandotte resident's about Alyssa Avila tragic death.

"You certainly don't expect something like that to happen on a playground," says Linda Eastwood.

Eastwood lives near the school and says she was shocked after she heard the news.

"It's just tragic," Eastwood says.  "It's the worst thing that can happen to a family, to lose a child anyway, but to lose them so suddenly and so tragic, my heart goes out to them."

"If the equipment is that bad then they need to get rid of it," says Wanda Convirse, a Wyandotte resident for 60 years, and former school bus driver.  Convirse was a bus driver for the school district for 19 years.

"You just have to watch out for all children and drive real safe, and be careful and watch real close at school, you never know what's going to happen," Convirse says.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of students involved," says Wyandotte School District Superintendent Troy Gray.  "We will release more details and information as it becomes available. Our sole focus at this moment is on the family, our students, faculty, and community at Wyandotte Public Schools."

Updated August 20, 2010 - 1:40 PM CST:  More from Chief of Police Ken Murphy's news release:

"I would like to commend the school staff, particularly Principal Lyons, Wyandotte First Responder Joe Francisco, the crew of the Quapaw Tribal Ambulance Service, and the medical crew of Freeman Med-Flight, for their heroic actions following this tragedy.  Everyone involved did everything humanly possible to save this young life."

Regarding the safety of the playground equipment, Chief Murphy says "the equipment has been in use for only 2 days and appears to be without defect and functioning as designed."

Updated August 20, 2010 - 1:35 PM CST:  "Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the student involved," says Wyandotte Superintendent of Schools Troy Gray in a news release issued Friday afternoon.

In the news release Superintendent Gray says the playground equipment the student fell from "has been secured and will not be in use".  He also says that school administration met with faculty and staff Friday morning.

"We are working with our students, staff, teachers, and community to offer counseling services to anyone who desires those services," Gray says.  "Counselors from the surrounding areas are on site to assist.  We would ask that parents, without hesitation, please contact the district if they need assistance with counseling their child."

Updated August 20, 2010 - 1:30 PM CST:  The Wyandotte Nation Tribal Police is investigating Thursday's accident.  Their preliminary investigation shows Alyssa Avila was playing on the X-Wave playground equipment when she fell and injured her head as she was trying to get back on.

"Preliminary information indicates that the student fell from the equipment and sustained a head injury as she was attempting to get back on," says Wyandotte Nation Tribe Chief of Police Ken Murphy in a Friday afternoon news release.  "The injury occurred in an area of the equipment where it is hinged and can move up and down."

Chief Murphy says the manufacturer of the X-Wave, Xccent Inc. of Minnesota, has  been contacted.  The manufacturer expects to have someone on site at some point.

First reported August 20, 2010 01:02 PM CST:  Police say nine year old Alyssa Avila fell off an X-WAVE teeter-totter at Wyandotte Elementary School in Wyandotte, Oklahoma.  She later died at the hospital.

Police say Avila, a 4th grade student, was playing on the playground equipment when the accident happened.

School officials say the playground equipment will not be used again.

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