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Abdusalamov gets $22M settlement from NYS

From ESPN - September 8, 2017

NEW YORK -- Nearly four years after boxer Magomed Abdusalamov suffered brain damage from a bout in the Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York State has agreed to pay him and his family $22 million in what is believed to be the largest personal injury settlement the state ever has made.

Court of Claims Judge Jeanette Rodriguez-Morick approved the agreement on Friday.

After his fight on Nov. 2, 2013, the Abdusalamov family filed suit alleging recklessness, gross negligence and medical malpractice by the New York State Athletic Commission, NYSAC staff and the doctors it retained to work that night. The complaint said improper care crucially delayed diagnosis and treatment of a developing blood clot in Abdusalamov's brain. He underwent emergency surgery, suffered multiple strokes, was in a coma for weeks and was hospitalized for more than 10 months, including in-patient rehabilitation.

Now 36, Abdusalamov remains paralyzed on his right side and unable to walk. His speech is mostly limited to mumbling, but despite doctors telling her he'd likely never talk again, his wife, Bakanay, said he now occasionally delivers fully formed words with clarity. She cares for him and their three daughters -- ages 11, 8 and 4 -- in a Connecticut house provided by a friend.

Abdusalamov was paid $40,000 for the fight and had the mandatory minimum $10,000 insurance policy. A year-and-a-half later, the incapacitated ex-boxer and his family were more than $2 million in debt, according to a 2015 court filing.

After a 32-month investigation, the state inspector general released a 48-page report last year that excoriated NYSAC for mishandling Abdusalamov and for an array of systemic problems, including its approach to medical emergencies.

The Abdusalamov family's attorney, Paul Edelstein, characterized the $22 million settlement to ESPN's Outside the Lines as "the state taking responsibility for its actions and paying an appropriate amount for the damages caused -- it was handled by the attorney general's office and Assistant AG Ross Herman in an extraordinarily professional and empathetic way."

Bakanay Abdusalamova told OTL through an interpreter that when she was told of the impending settlement, "I was depressed for a few days, because I always thought by this time Mago would be better and our normal life would return ... but I came to the realization that although we ca not bring back the Mago of before, this will really help us make his and our family's life better and we can pay to get him more treatment without depending on others."

A heavyweight title contender from the Russian Republic of Dagestan, the left-handed Abdusalamov was 18-0 and opponent Mike Perez was 19-0 at the start of their 10-round fight televised by HBO. From the first round, when Perez staggered him with a quick left forearm to the face, Abdusalamov appeared to have trouble breathing out of his nose. Perez went on to win a unanimous decision, and Abdusalamov's face was left a bloody, swollen mess.

In a 2014 Outside the Lines report, Abdusalamov's handlers said he told ringside physicians in the dressing room after the fight that his head hurt. The doctors examined him, sutured a gash above his left eye and advised that he have a suspected facial fracture X-rayed -- following his planned return to Florida, where he and his family lived at the time. They did not send him to a local hospital in New York, although they had an ambulance at their disposal.

After the doctors left the dressing room, the NYSAC inspector assigned to monitor Abdusalamov found blood in his urine sample and suggested that he go by taxi to a hospital. While Abdusalamov's interpreter tried to hail a cab, the increasingly unsteady 6-foot-3, 231-pound boxer was also outside the Garden, vomiting. Once inside the emergency room, he lost consciousness.

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