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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Magomed Abdusalamov wins $22 million settlement after fight left him paralyzed

It has been nearly four years since Magomed Abdusalamov suffered brain damage in a boxing match at Madison Square Garden, and the former fighter remains paralyzed on one side of his body and unable to walk. On Friday, Abdusalamov and his family received a $22 million settlement from the state of New York.

Abdusalamov’s family had filed a lawsuit alleging recklessness, gross negligence and medical malpractice by the New York State Athletic Commission, NYSAC staff and the doctors it hired to work the boxer’s November 2013 fight against Mike Perez. According to William Weinbaum of ESPN, a judge ruled Friday that Abdusalamov did not receive proper care.

Perez defeated Abdusalamov by unanimous decision, and the Russian was left badly bleeding and swollen after the 10-round bout. In a 2014 report from Outside the Lines, Abdusalamov’s trainers said the fighter told ringside doctors that his head hurt, and they suspected he had suffered a facial fracture and should have an X-ray. The physicians did not, however, recommend that Abdusalamov be taken to a hospital immediately. Rather than sending him for treatment in an ambulance, they suggested Abdusalamov go by taxi to a hospital after finding blood in his urine sample.

It was later determined that Abdusalamov had a blood clot in his brain. He suffered multiple strokes and was in a coma for weeks. Doctors told his wife, Bakanay Abdusalamova, that Magomed would likely never speak again, though she says he occasionally says fully-formed words.

I would trade all of the money to just bring back Mago as he was, but that’s not how it works,” Bakanay Abdusalamova told ESPN. “It cannot buy the happiness we had.”

Paul Edelstein, the attorney for the Abdusalamov family, said the $22 million settlement is an appropriate amount for the state of New York to take responsibility for its actions. However, the settlement states that the family cannot release its claims against the three doctors who worked the fight — Anthony Curreri, Osric King and Gerard Varlotta. Edelstein says he may pursue the case further in supreme court.

“The three ringside physicians had primary responsibility and we’re not going to stop until they acknowledge it,” he said. “Their malpractice insurance carriers’ lawyers apparently don’t see the case the way the inspector general and attorney general do.

“I’m obviously very pleased about the settlement with the state that provides for Mago and his family, but having these doctors testify in open court may be the best way to show how grievous this was and how screwed up the system of caring for athletes is in an admittedly dangerous sport.”

Abdusalamov is 36 and he and his wife have three daughters together. The $22 million settlement is believed to be the largest personal injury settlement in New York State history.

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