Keep Your Eye On The Ball: Soccer Player’s Concussion Dismissed Against Athletic Department (NY)
In Calderone v Molloy College, plaintiff was a student-athlete who played for Molloy College’s soccer team. During a matchup, plaintiff took a soccer ball strike to the head and he suffered a concussion. Plaintiff stayed in the game and claimed that his injuries were exacerbated by continuing to play and brought suit against the athletic department and the referees stating that they should have seen the symptoms of the concussion and removed him from the game. Defendants argued that summary judgement should be granted under primary assumption of risk doctrine, as the risks of a sporting activity are known by or perfectly obvious to a voluntary participant. Plaintiff alleged that the doctrine did not apply because the defendants acted recklessly or negligently in leaving the plaintiff in the game. The lower court granted defendants’ motions and the plaintiff appealed.
The Appellate Division Second Department upheld the lower court’s decision under the theory the “risks inherent in a sporting activity are those which are known, apparent, natural, or reasonably foreseeable consequences of the participation.” The Court stated that there was no evidence that plaintiff had sustained a concussion or showed any signs of a concussion – as he remained in the game. Moreover, a soccer ball to the head causing a concussion is reasonable and calculable risk in playing soccer.
Thanks to Paul Vitale for his contribution to this post. Please contact Georgia Coats with any questions.