Two former football players sued the defunct Myrtle Beach Freedom indoor football team and American Indoor Football League this month because they suffered career-ending knee injuries while playing at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, according to court records.
Christopher Donnell Smith and David Toussaint, former members of the Columbus (Georgia) Lions indoor football team, filed suit with the Court of Common Pleas of the 15th Judicial Circuit last week. In court papers, they allege the Freedom's unsafe playing conditions at the convention center caused both men to suffer devastating injuries.
The Freedom played at the convention center during the spring of 2016. The games were held on a short field and a carpet-like surface covered the center’s concrete floor.
Both Toussaint and Smith claim the carpet had come apart and they caught their feet in the loose flooring, causing them to twist their knees, according to court records. The players said the injuries required extensive medical treatment and caused permanent disability.
The lawsuits said the team and the AIF were aware of the defects in the playing surface in Myrtle Beach and should have taken appropriate steps to correct the problems.
According to the suit, the Freedom was responsible for providing the playing surface and did so under the guidelines of the AIF.
The suit is seeking actual and punitive damages against both the Freedom and the AIF.
Barely a month into the regular season last spring, the Freedom’s head coach Ryan David and two of his assistants resigned over what David alleged were unsafe playing conditions.
David said seeing injuries on both his team and visiting teams, including an opponent’s compound fracture of his leg, led to his departure from the team.
Team owner Ronnie McCuin said the coaches quit because of an argument and he had not heard of their concerns over players’ safety.
As the fans learned during the season, it wasn’t uncommon for the officials to stop the game several times and repair loose carpet.
The AIF was dissolved in July of last year and with it went all of the league’s teams.
Myrtle Beach Convention Center Director Paul Edwards Monday confirmed there is no indoor football team slated for the facility this year.
Representatives from the Myrtle Beach Freedom and the AIF could not be reached for comment.