Paralyzed College Drinker Sues Fordham University

By Will Herbst 11/14/11

A young tennis player and student fell out of a college loft bed—after going to sleep drunk—and is now in a wheelchair. Who's to blame?

thefix_Kei Usami.jpg
Kei Usami faces a long rehabilitation. Photo via

A partying college student and tennis player is suing Fordham University after he went to sleep drunk and fell four feet from his dorm room loft bed, hitting his head so hard that his spine fractured. Kei Usami, 20, woke up in the hospital paralyzed from the neck down, spent four months in rehab and is now using a wheelchair. "My goal is to attend graduation in 2013 and walk up and get my diploma," says the unfortunate underage drinker. His lawyers blame Fordham's failure to install guardrails on the high bed—and the failure of the university’s volunteer EMS team to use a neck brace when transporting Usami to the hospital—for his injuries. But Fordham contends that Usami's, “voluntary consumption of large amounts of alcohol,” that night was the key factor, court records show. Yet with Usami’s medical bills already having reached $1.1 million—with possible damages and legal fees to follow—the university is apparently hedging its bets. It's suing the two companies that supplied the beds.

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