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Tough Mudder Death Is 1st Since Race Began

By Aditi Mukherji, JD | Last updated on

A Tough Mudder participant died in West Virginia last week, and 20 others were treated at a hospital.

Avishek Sengupta, 28, of Maryland, is the first Tough Mudder participant to die during the popular endurance race since it began in 2010. His drowning raises a grim reality that's typically far from the minds of amped participants, and is buried in the fine print of the event's participation agreement.

With extreme endurance activities like Tough Mudder, Rugged Maniac, and Warrior Dash on the rise, it's important for participants to know what they're "risking" by signing on the dotted line of a waiver.

Tough Mudder's Death Waiver

Included in the Tough Mudder registration paperwork is a death waiver. We've previously discussed the legality of the Tough Mudder death waiver, which includes a release of liability for death in addition to injury.

A death waiver allows Tough Mudder to:

  • Form a contract between the participant and Tough Mudder,
  • Allow Tough Mudder to avoid liability for injuries or death caused by simple negligence, and
  • Show the participant has assumed the risk that the activity poses.

Regardless, the Tough Mudder waivers don't protect against injuries caused by the organizers' intentional behavior or gross negligence.

Sengupta's Death

In Avishek Sengupta's case, he had to be removed from a deep pool in which he was underwater for too long -- but his drowning was ruled accidental, reports National Geographic News.

Though Tough Mudder didn't intend to cause Sengupta's death, the organization may still face lawsuits based on gross negligence, including a potential wrongful death claim by Sengupta's relatives.

In addition to Sengupta's death at the West Virginia event April 20, another participant nearly drowned, two were treated for heart attacks, and 17 others were hospitalized for other injuries, reports National Geographic News. Their injuries included hypothermia, head injuries and orthopedic injuries.

Of course, Tough Mudder participants are attracted to the event because of its extreme endurance obstacles. They quite literally assume the risks. But as Sengupta is the first Tough Mudder participant to die during an event, it's not yet clear how a potential lawsuit would fare in court.

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