This case involves a young boy who sustained injuries at a gymnastics facility in Minnesota. On the date of the incident in question, the boy was instructed by his coach to perform a front handspring into a foam pit. The facility had left a large mat on top to cover the pit itself. He performed the procedure and landed on the hard surface, forcing his legs upwards and striking himself in the face, breaking his nose as well as his orbital bone. While the boy was performing the maneuver, the coach was in the process of instructing other gymnasts, and was not supervising the plaintiff.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please discuss your background in setting safety protocols in a gymnastics facility as described in the case summary?
- 2. What protocols could have been set in place to prevent the accident?
Expert Witness Response E-007387
My expertise in the field of gymnastics safety is highly sought after and I have helped many gymnastic clubs comply with safety standards and regulations. I am more than able to assess the safety of a given facility for use in gymnastics and would be happy to review this case more closely. Over the course of a storied career, I have been retained on hundreds of cases in the gymnastics field and have even testified in court. I generally avoid the use of foam pits in my own gym; though they provide a more pliant surface for landings, they are no guarantee of safety. Stacking mats in pits is a normal practice to attenuate the athlete to landing on increasingly natural surfaces; however, their proper use must be calibrated to the experience and aptitude of the athlete.