A discrimination lawsuit was recently filed against Team Illinois Hockey Club and Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois.
Team Illinois Hockey Club and Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois are in hot water after a teenage hockey player and her family decided to file a lawsuit over allegations that the teenager, Morgan Urso, “was removed from her team after telling a coach about her mental health struggles.”
Urso is 15-years-old and loves hockey, so much so that she has been playing the sport since she was a mere 4-years-old. About a year and a half ago, Urso began experiencing mental health problems, including severe depression and suicidal thoughts, and opened up about her struggles to her coach, someone she thought she could trust and confide in. However, she didn’t get the response she was hoping for. The morning after she told him about her struggles, the coach went to the board and “effectively had her removed from the team,” according to the lawsuit.
As part of the suit, Urso and her family are accusing Team Illinois Hockey Club and Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois of “discriminating against Urso’s mental health disability.” The suit further claims that Morgan’s doctors “told them hockey was good for Morgan because the routine and the exercise helped her.” Kelly Urso, Morgan’s mother, said:
“Getting her out of bed and wanting to motivate her to participate in the day became that much harder because she had nothing to look forward to.”
Morgan agreed that it was a setback when she was removed from the team. Eventually, she was told that she could “rejoin the team with a doctor’s letter clearing her to participate in 100% of all team activities and functions.”
Attorney Charlie Wysong said:
“They are covered by state laws against discrimination, right? They cannot treat kids – particularly, kick them out – because they have a mental health condition, which is a disability.”
Since the unfortunate incident, Morgan and her family have been busy forming Team Morgan, an organization designed to raise awareness about mental health. It was raised $50,000 for mental health treatment so far. Additionally, Morgan is playing hockey again, this time on a different team.
Nick Urso, Morgan’s father, said:
“We’re doing it for the next person that comes to their coach so this doesn’t happen to anybody else. Not just in hockey, but in all sports.”
When questioned about the incident, the coach said he “always had a positive relationship with Morgan and her family before this.” He added, “I knew I had no background in what she was dealing with and I knew it wasn’t something I was prepared to be helpful with.”