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Alumnus Wins Suit For Athletic Injury

By Jennifer Lane
Associate News Editor

Garret M. Moose '91, who sustained severe injuries following a pole vaulting accident four years ago and was expelled by MIT after a computer theft incident in 1991, was awarded $600,000 in damages from MITby a Middlesex Superior Court jury last week.

Coaches Paul Slovenski and Halston W. Taylor were named along with MIT as defendants in the suit and were found to be negligent by the jury.

"It is to early to say what MIT's next steps will be," said Director of Insurance and Legal Affairs Thomas R. Henneberry.

Although the pole vaulting pit that Moose used was itself sound, "the allegations were that we did not use supplementary padding around the back and sides of the pit," Henneberry said.

The athletic department "never considered that we had any unsafe conditions, but the pole vaulting pit used by Mr. Moose has since been replaced by a newer, larger pit," Henneberry said.

The pit was replaced in 1992, a year after Moose sustained his vaulting injuries.

Moose fractured back of skull

In an interview shortly after his hospital stay in 1991, Moose said that his fall had fractured the back of his skull, causing a large primary contusion, or bruise, on the back of his brain and more than 30 secondary contusions on the frontal and temporal lobes.

The contusions created pressure that caused him great discomfort from loud noises.

Moose said that he felt no lasting effects of the fall, except for occasional pressure on his eyeballs and inner ears, which was supposed to disappear with time.

Following the accident, Moose spent two weeks at Massachusetts General Hospital before being transferred to the Spaulding Rehabilita-tion Hospital for five days.

Moose was cleared by doctors at the MIT Medical Department and the sports medicine staff. He was allowed to begin light training and later went on to compete in athletic events with the help of a protective helmet. Moose was on the varsity track and football teams.

Moose's attorney, James McCarthy, declined to comment on the case, stating that the case was still "live litigation."

Moose expelled for theft

Moose was expelled along with John S. Fortunato '91 in 1991 for allegedly stealing over $70,000 in computer equipment from MIT and installing it in the Phi Gamma Delta house.

Moose and Fortunato had the option of petitioning for re-admission to MIT after June 1, 1995.

Fiji was put on a three-year probation following the incident. In response, the national organization of Fiji conducted a membership review and created a set of objectives in order to address the thefts. Fiji also vowed to maintain closer ties with its alumni and the national representatives.

Moose could not be reached for comment.