The Spartan Race is an athletic competition series. The “race” is essentially an obstacle course that puts endurance, willpower, and athletic prowess to the test for all participants. This race is similar to competitive events such as the Tough Mudder or the Ninja Warrior competition. The Spartan Race includes many treacherous and demanding obstacles. The obstacles vary from race to race, but some staples of the race usually include obstacles that involve climbing up walls, lifting and moving heavy objects, swimming, and other feats of athleticism. The Spartan Race separates itself from its contemporaries by offering contestants a chance to perform a set of 30 burpee exercises instead of fulfilling an obstacle, if they fail to complete it or physically cannot do so. At a recent Spartan Race event in New York, one of these obstacles was a set of monkey bars. One contestant ended up suffering severe injuries as a result of her experience on the monkey bars.
Amparo Colon, a New Jersey woman was a participant of the Spartan Race. Colon, a fitness enthusiast and the mother of 4 children, was rounding out the monkey bars when she got stuck. A volunteer from the Spartan Race ran over to help her. He insisted that she ride on his shoulders. The volunteer then lost his balance, causing Ms. Colon to fall over. Colon landed on her neck. Her injuries resulted in paralysis from the neck down.
She now requires constant use of a wheelchair and live-in care at a rehabilitation facility in New Jersey. Colon has since taken legal action against the Spartan Race Inc. organization. Other defendants named are Reebok International and NBC Sports, both sponsors for the event.
Much like going to the gym, participating in sports, or engaging in any risky activity, the Spartan Race prompts all contestants to sign a waiver releasing them from liability before participating. Many of these waivers, however, may not necessarily hold up in court. Oftentimes an attorney can argue that a waiver either does not cover a particular incident, or the language of the waiver itself is too vague and all-encompassing to be valid.
Colon’s attorneys aim to demonstrate that Colon’s waiver should not be enforceable, considering the circumstances of her accident. The argument is that if Colon did not receive unsolicited and ultimately harmful assistance, she could have simply been able to drop down to the ground and land on her feet. Instead, she landed on her neck due to the interference of the volunteer. Obstacle races like the Spartan Race and the Tough Mudder hold some degree of risk, however, outside interference with an athlete is not one of the risks that participants sign up for.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact Gilman and Bedigian today.
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