Wichita woman sues Trinity Academy over 2009 back injury

A 19-year-old Wichita woman and her mother are suing Trinity Academy, a private Christian high school, claiming the young woman injured her back after the school’s weight-training teacher directed her to perform a 225-pound squat lift.

Kortni Miller, 19, and her mother, Kelli Miller, also are suing the teacher, Thomas Nykamp.

According to a lawsuit filed this month in Sedgwick County District Court, Kortni Miller injured her lower back in May 2009 while a student in Nykamp’s strength and conditioning class.

According to the suit, Nykamp directed Kortni Miller to perform a squat lift with 225 pounds, saying she would have to perform the lift correctly to get an A in the class.

Miller told the teacher “that she had had no previous training … performing squat lifts, that she believed 225 pounds was too much weight,” the lawsuit says.

When Miller tried to perform the lift, “she was unable to do so, fell into a seated position and injured her back and other affected body parts,” the lawsuit says.

The suit alleges negligence and breach of duties on behalf of the teacher and school. The Millers are seeking three judgments “in excess of $75,000” for Kortni Miller’s past and future medical bills.

Garry Howard, the plaintiffs’ attorney, has not returned phone calls seeking comment.

Don Gribble, the attorney representing Nykamp and Trinity Academy, at 12345 E. 21st St. and K-96, said his clients are not at fault for Miller’s injuries.

“We do not think that either Mr. Nykamp or Trinity Academy did anything wrong in any respect,” Gribble said. “Beyond that, we really have no further comment at this point.”