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Eighth Grade member of wrestling team contends mat used during meet at visiting school is defective and that three piece mat is not properly taped, exposing gymnasium floor – Arm injury when elbow strikes floor – Liability only

Nassau County, NY

This action involved an eighth grade member of the visiting school’s wrestling team who suffered an arm injury during a match against the home school’s team in the gymnasium. The three piece mats are designed to be taped together, and then taped and secured to the gym floor. The plaintiff contended that the defendant hosting school negligently used an old and defective mat that had been stored on rollers, which could not be properly secured. The plaintiff supported that the visiting school was negligent in permitting the students to wrestle on this mat, and maintained that a newer, second mat was also being used, and that the visiting team should have insisted that this mat only be used, notwithstanding the additional time the meet would take to complete.

The plaintiff contended that, although he assumed the risks inherent in participating in wrestling, the defendants had enhanced the risk, and that he did not assume such enhancement. The defendants denied that the condition of the mat caused the injury, and supported that the plaintiff failed to keep his arms close to the body and "roll into the fall," as he was taught, and that the injury occurred because he kept his arm outstretched.The jury found that the plaintiff had assumed the risk, and that neither defendants had enhanced it. A defense verdict was then entered.

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