ESPN Examines Final Hours of Donnovan Hill, Victim of Pop Warner Football Hit

ESPN on Sunday morning revisits the story of Donnovan Hill, the Los Alamitos 18-year-old who died in May from  complications related to a hit he suffered during a Pop Warner football game in Laguna Hills five years before.

The subject of an ESPN Outside the Lines episode in 2012 is again featured in Impact: The Life of Donnovan Hill Outside the Lines, which is scheduled to be shown Sunday at 6 a.m. on  ESPN, 7 a.m. on ESPN2 and likely in repeats (check local listings). 

Reporter Tom Farrey, who had chronicled Hill's final hours in a previous post on ESPN's website, aims with Impact to document the teen's daily struggles over the past five years, including a turn no one saw coming.

Hill was a two-way star for the Lakewood Lancers, who went up against Saddleback Valley's Pop Warner team in the Nov. 6, 2011, Midget Orange Bowl championship game at Laguna Hills High School. He scored the first touchdown of the game on a 40-yard running play, but he later led with his head on defense to make a successful goal-line stand tackle on a Saddleback Valley running back. That was the hit that left Hill paralyzed from the neck down the rest of his short life.

His mother, Crystal Dixon, sued the national Pop Warner organization, local league representatives and her son's former coaches, on grounds that her son received improper training on how to tackle. That led to an unprecedented seven-figured settlement, although both parties agreed not to disclose the terms nor the exact amount.

The litigation was credited with leading to another multi-million dollar settlement with a Wisconsin family whose son killed himself at 25 because of a brain injury he sustained playing Pop Warner football years before.

Hill's case also brought about Pop Warner changes, but Farrey and producer Simon Baumgart will report that not enough has been done to protect players and their families.

Go here for the trailer:

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