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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6

    Default Visually Impaired Child Hurt at a School Event

    State: WV

    My son who attends a school for visually impaired children went out of state to participate in a sanctioned sporting event called Goalball. We did sign permission to travel, but that was all that was required plus small entry fee. Goalball is a team sport designed for blind athletes. Participants compete in teams of three, and try to throw a ball that has bells embedded in it, into the opponents' goal. They must use the sound of the bell to judge the position and movement of the ball. Blacked out goggles allow partially sighted players to compete on an equal footing with blind players.

    While my son was paticipating in the game and after he made a goal he was making his way back into posistion by feel as normal but got disoriented and somehow found his way behind the goal instead of in front of it. Now each goal has a "spotter" or observer who stands there to make sure the ball is in and that the participant is not out of bounds etc. The spotter DID see my son was behind the goal and in the wrong place but he was a volunteer and thought he was not allowed to say anything during game play. There are rules about talking due to the game requires athletes to listen for the ball, anyway the front of the goal used was padded, not the backside. Normally from games I atended the goals are made of PVC piping, but this goal apparentley was made of metal.

    My son heard the ball coming, dove to block and smashed his face and head into the metal portion of the pole breaking/damaging 4 of his front teeth. My son had beautiful teeth after many years of ortho work we paid for but right now does not even look or talk the same. Anyway, currently we are paying out of pocket all costs related to this injury, two root canals, ER vists, meds and the like and this is not even the implants/bridges and crowns etc we have found out he will need. My question is the school (s) liable in anyway. To me this was just plain negligent especially with all the sighted persons there supervising this game. What are our rights and responsibilites? So far because we have medical no one is offering to help with any costs and we have not met our $1,000. deductible yet but I am sure we will soon.

    Also the extreme pain our son is in and embarrassment from some of the kids making fun of his looks is frustrating. He stays as a resident at the school the majority of the school year so we can not be there with him in all this and have to trust the school to inform us as we progress in this situation. So far their lack of response has been aweful. Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,906

    Default Re: Visually Impaired Child Hurt at a School Event

    Is this a private school, or a school operated by a unit of government? Similarly, was the sporting event sponsored privately, or (directly or indirectly) through public schools or a unit of government?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Visually Impaired Child Hurt at a School Event

    This is a state run school if I am correct, in others words we do not pay for a tuition for him to attend, he qualifies due to his eye disease and visual accuity.

    This was a USABA (United States Association of Blind Athletes) sanctioned game. A Nationals game between a variety of schools, including the Florida school for the blind who hosted the event and the kids stayed in the dorms there. My son had paid a membership fee to become a USABA member and the team was flown to FL from WV for the event.

    The head of the Goalball USABA org. was present as required at this game for it to be sanctioned.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Visually Impaired Child Hurt at a School Event

    The school is likely protected by sovereign immunity, and it doesn't appear that they actually did anything wrong.

    The sports organization may be responsible for its negligence in training and supervising spotters, and the spotter may be negligent for failing to act to protect your son.

    I suggest having your case evaluated by a personal injury lawyer in Florida, where this injury apparently occurred.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Visually Impaired Child Hurt at a School Event

    If a person watches the video link below they can see why there is no excuse for the injuries my son recieved, the video is how sanctioned games are played, there are always 2 spotters, or referees on each goal.....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MLbC3er2Fc

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