La Grange teen accuses hockey staff of incapacity discrimination


Morgan Urso tried many sports activities as a younger little one and didn’t like several of them. Every part modified at age 10 when she went to hockey follow along with her brother.

“I ended up loving the sport,” Morgan stated. “The sensation of the recent air hitting my face each shift is a sense that I’d take any day.”

Now a highschool sophomore, Morgan’s zeal for the sport took successful when her membership hockey staff unexpectedly banned her from follow, video games and staff actions.

The Urso household not too long ago sued Crew Illinois Hockey and the Novice Hockey Affiliation of Illinois for incapacity discrimination, claiming Morgan was suspended after she informed a coach about her psychological sickness.

Throughout her freshman yr in 2019, Morgan skilled a extreme depressive episode, leading to her going to an outpatient program and being given new treatment.

Morgan stated her coach, Crew Illinois Hockey Director Larry Pedrie, was initially supportive. “He stated if I wanted to be an assistant coach on the bench with him or if I wished to exit and skate or miss, I might do no matter I wanted to,” Morgan stated.

Morgan’s mom, Kelly Urso, stated she obtained a name the subsequent day and was knowledgeable that Pedrie had spoken with Mike Mullally, USA hockey director on the Novice Hockey Affiliation of Illinois, and so they had determined to bar Morgan from all Crew Illinois practices, video games and different actions.

“I bear in mind saying, ‘What?’ quite a bit, like, how did he resolve this,” Urso stated. “He simply saved saying, ‘I’ve [Team Illinois’] full board help, that is what AHAI has suggested us to do.’ I ended up hanging up on him as a result of I acquired so emotional.”

Morgan and her household filed a lawsuit in opposition to Crew Illinois Hockey and the Novice Hockey Affiliation of Illinois, claiming the organizations discriminated on the idea of incapacity.
Pat Nabong/Solar-Instances

Urso stated a couple of hours later she heard from different dad and mom on the staff that Pedrie informed them and their kids to not talk with Morgan till she was in a position to present a health care provider’s notice clearing her to take part in 100% of staff actions.

Pedrie’s electronic mail to folks of gamers expressed a want to maintain youngsters from “carrying the burden of a teammate’s private wrestle.”

“We have been mad, dissatisfied and damage,” Urso stated. “We had come from packages the place hockey was your loved ones, and to have this be the response, we have been simply confused.”

Morgan, who missed a month of ice time, was allowed to complete the season after the Ursos employed lawyer Charlie Wysong, a companion at Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym Ltd. Nevertheless, Morgan stated she was “tremendous uncomfortable” being round her coach and always felt nervous again on the staff.

In spring 2020, the Urso household filed a criticism with the Illinois Division of Human Rights. The division investigated however declined to pursue a case in opposition to the staff or the hockey affiliation.

Despite being able to rejoin the team, Morgan said from then on she was “super uncomfortable” being alone with her coach and other players’ parents. Morgan poses with hockey stick in hand in front of a goal in her backyard.

Regardless of having the ability to rejoin the staff, Morgan stated from then on she was “tremendous uncomfortable” being alone along with her coach and different gamers’ dad and mom.
Pat Nabong/Solar-Instances

On April 20, Morgan and her dad and mom filed a lawsuit in DuPage County Circuit Court docket in opposition to Crew Illinois Hockey and AHAI for discriminating in opposition to her on the idea of incapacity.

“We’re not allowed to banish people who find themselves depressed or anxious or have suicidal ideas,” Wysong stated. “That’s not OK.”

The Novice Hockey Affiliation of Illinois and its lawyer declined to touch upon the lawsuit. Pedrie didn’t reply to a number of requests for remark.

Urso stated the household sued to stop different households from present process the same state of affairs. She stated there ought to be insurance policies and procedures in place to help kids experiencing psychological well being points in youth sports activities and correct coaching for coaches.

“We hope that it’ll assist youth sports activities acknowledge that it is a main concern, particularly after COVID-19, that youngsters are coping with quite a lot of psychological well being points,” Wysong stated.

Morgan Urso (right) and her siblings pose in shirts that read “Team Morgan,” which the family formed to raise funds and awareness about mental illness.

Morgan Urso (proper) and her siblings of their “Crew Morgan,” shirts. The household fashioned “Crew Morgan” to boost funds and consciousness about psychological sickness.
Courtesy/Kelly Urso

Morgan, a middle, returned to the ice for the 2020-21 season with a former hockey staff. This yr, Morgan plans to check out for a St. Louis AAA Blues hockey staff.

She has additionally began working with the #SameHere International Psychological Well being Motion, which goals to boost consciousness about and supply sources for these coping with psychological sickness.

In forming “Crew Morgan,” the Urso household raised and donated greater than $50,000 to #SameHere for psychological well being remedy.

“Anybody on the market struggling isn’t alone,” Morgan stated. “There’s at all times somebody to speak to, whether or not it’s me, or a pal or a guardian. And don’t be afraid to go to your coach.”

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