Accidents can just happen: tragic but true
From BBC News 14/08/12:
[A teacher], Glennroy Blair-Ford, 45, was on a Kent school trip in Devon when he broke his neck while taking part in a sporting event commonly known as welly wanging.
A judge said it was a "freak accident" and dismissed his claim against outdoor pursuits centre firm CRS Adventures.
Lawyers for Mr Blair-Ford, formerly of Bromley, south-east London, argued that he had been asked by centre staff to throw the welly adopting an "unsafe" method.
An unsafe method of throwing (ahem – wanging) a welly? I don’t know: how about balanced on a pointed stick above a pit of snakes? Throwing a welly boot seems fairly innocuous doesn’t it? But freak accidents are the worst – and the toughest to come to terms with.
They said his injuries were "a logical and foreseeable consequence" of a 6ft tall, 15 stone teacher throwing the welly backwards through his legs using the requested method.
The 45-year-old is unable to move his body below the neck and requires ventilator support 23 hours a day, as well as being dependent on others for all aspects of day-to-day life.
Mr Justice Globe rejected the claim and ruled there was "no foreseeable real risk" of injury from welly wanging.
As tremendously tragic as this story is, thank goodness common sense prevailed. It’s a symptom of the modern age to look for blame in all instances (and when nobody can be found, to look a bit harder until someone is). But sometimes (as here) accidents can just happen.
And that kind of makes this tragedy all the more… tragic.
Mr Blair-Ford and his insurers now face a large legal costs bill.
The judge ordered an interim payment of £100,000 to CRS Adventures pending a final assessment of the total amount.