This case involves a female plaintiff who suffered injuries during a nonprofit fundraising race that was designed to give funds to a local charity. The race was in a “mud run” format, with a number of obstacles strewn throughout the race’s course by event staff. Many of the obstacles involved climbing, yet participants were not provided with any supplemental safety equipment or personal training prior to the race. At the time of the incident in question, the Plaintiff had arrived, along with several other members of her team, at the base of a vertical wall that was serving as an obstacle on the course. The bottom of the wall on one side was a mud filled trench, while the other was hard gravel. The Plaintiff was required to scale the wall via a rope anchored to the top of the wall. At some point, the Plaintiff slipped and fell on the gravel at the other side of the wall, causing a devastating ankle injury.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please briefly describe your experience with injury biomechanics and kinesiology relating to athletics.
- 2 Does any of this experience relate to landing surfaces?
Expert Witness Response E-077885
I have been involved in a number of injury cases requiring biomechanics information. These have been most common in gymnastics, cheerleading, trampoline parks, and others. I suspect that the “rocks” in question may have been p-gravel. If this is the case, then there have been studies of playground-related impacts on everything from asphalt to dirt, grass, ground-up tires, wood chips and others. Most impacts are not simply straight down and involve other force/torque components that will probably increase the difficulty of the analysis. It should be common sense that if people can fall from any height above their standing height that the landing surface requires special precautions. There are a variety of ways to reduce the harshness of an impact including everything from instruction, to matting, inflatable equipment, and ropes and harnesses.