[Sumo][inflatable] Always wear the right size helmet. Or don't, and
win $2 million dollars!
cfinberg862 at yahoo.com
Sat May 16 10:18:23 EDT 2009
A Denver jury this week awarded $2 million to a woman who was injured at a
Colorado Springs resort while participating in a mock sumo wrestling game
with her coworkers.
Katherine Giles was attending her company's retreat at Cheyenne Mountain
Resort in September 2005 when the accident happened.
Mock sumo wrestling is sometimes used by companies as a team building
exercise. It involves participants wearing enormous padded or inflatable
suits and helmets.
At the event, held for Giles and other employees of a division of Ernst and
Young, there was an open bar and people were drinking.
Giles, of New York City, says she sustained permanent brain damage. She was
wearing a helmet but was pushed off the mat. She hit her head, was knocked
unconscious and was bleeding from the ear.
"The rim of this helmet hit her. She fell backward and the helmet impacted
on the concrete covered by carpet," Giles' attorney John Purvis told CBS4.
"It had slipped up on her head so the hard plastic rim impacted the back of
her head. She fractured her skull."
Jurors in the federal trial blamed the manufacturer of the sumo suits, the
company that owned the equipment and put on the event (Gravity Play
Entertainment in Colorado Springs) and, to a lesser extent, the resort.
Lawyers for The Inflatable Store, the Florida-based manufacturer, claim
Giles was intoxicated, but the jury did not find her at fault.
Purvis claims the helmet was one-size-fits-all and was too large for Giles,
who he described as a small woman.
"If it slips it's like any situation. It's dangerous," says Purvis. "If it
fits well it probably wouldn't be dangerous but if it doesn't it's a
disaster waiting to happen."
The Inflatable Store no longer offers mock sumo wrestling as one of its
Two other companies named in the lawsuit settled out of court with Giles
before the trial.
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