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Wrestling Camp Sued Over Teen's Brain Injury

By Betty Wang, JD | Last updated on

A wrestling camp lawsuit blames a teenager's brain injuries on improper supervision. Parents with teens participating in summer sports camps may want to take note.

Zach Varghese suffered severe head injuries when another wrestler dropped him on his head at a camp run by Chattanooga Wrestling Camps LLC in June 2012. The lawsuit, filed by Zach's father last month, seeks $600,000 in damages, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The incident serves as a warning for parents when enrolling their children in summer sports camps and other activities. In case of an injury or accident, is recovery possible? Also, what types of defenses could the sports camp assert?

Potential Theories of Liability

In the wrestling camp lawsuit, Zach Varghese's father alleges his son's injuries were caused by Chattanooga Wrestling Camps' failure to provide proper supervision, the Times Free Press reports. That's one way of alleging negligence on the part of the camp's management.

While supervision can definitely be an issue at summer sports camps, it's not the only potential cause of action to pursue if a child is injured. Depending on the circumstances, other possibilities may include:

  • Premises liability. The owners of a business owe a duty to visitors, and are generally liable for accidents that occur on their property. Specifically, and especially, when children are on the premises, there is even more of an expectation that the premises be maintained and supervised properly when activities are being performed.
  • Improper background checks. Employers should typically conduct a certain number of checks on prospective employees before they're hired. Criminal records, driving records, and drug tests are some common types of background checks. If a proper background check was not performed, the business may be held liable for any issues that stem from its employees' actions.

Potential Defenses

However, there are defenses that may absolve summer sports camps of their duties. For example, under the legal theory of assumption of risk, there is no liability when it comes to the known, obvious risks of an activity. This could be the case if a child sprains his ankle while running on the field during track practice, or if he sustains bruises from falling during a wrestling match.

It's also common for parents to sign waivers for activities that run the risk of being unsafe, such as in rough contact sports like football or wrestling. If parents sign a waiver without thoroughly looking it over, they could very well have signed away their right to sue for the inherent risks that come with the sport.

As each sports camp injury lawsuit is unique, recovery options will also differ. It may be best to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal situation and to determine what specifically can be done for you and your child.

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