Little League Celebration: Part of the Game or Negligent Act?

News broke last week that a California Little League coach is suing his former player over injuries he allegedly sustained in a victory celebration. According to reports, the 14-year old player scored from second base to win a game in walk-off fashion. In so doing, he took off his helmet and tossed into the air in celebration. When the helmet came back down to earth, it allegedly hit his coach, Allan Beck, tearing his Achilles’ tendon. Beck filed suit against the boy, seeking $100,000 in actual damages plus $500,000 in pain and suffering. However, Beck has indicated that he really was only interested in having the kid’s parents pony up the $20,000 he paid in medical expenses.

An interesting case from Halifax injury lawyers – McKiggan Hebert Lawyers. Had this been a case of a player intentionally throwing his helmet at the coach in anger after striking out, then this lawsuit would not have garnered so much national attention. But, this is not the case. There is no evidence of which we are aware that the boy intended anything other than to celebrate a victory. Watch baseball at any level and you will see players throw helmets in the air in much the same fashion. Until now, it has always been no harm no foul. What makes this case different, is that there allegedly was a harm. So, should the player be responsible for it? It is certainly foreseeable that someone could be injured by a falling helmet. After all, the laws of gravity dictate that what goes up must come down. It is surprising that more players or coaches haven’t been injured by helmets in these situations.

Generally, sports injury cases hinge on whether the injury occurred as a result of an act inherent to the sport. For example, a football player can’t sue an opposing player when tearing his ACL on a routine tackle. Throwing a helmet in the air doesn’t necessarily fall into that same category as a tackle; however, as mentioned, it may, too, be “part of the game.”

Regardless of the liability aspects, we are curious as to how Beck tore his Achilles’ tendon by a helmet thrown up into the air at home plate. The logistics of the injury seem to defy all odds. In describing the injury, Beck told Fox News:

I could not register right at that second, so I turned around and looked and there was a helmet laying on the ground and this young man that hit me was looking at me, stunned.

Given Beck’s own uncertainty, we have to wonder whether he sustained his injury when stepping on the helmet rather than when it fell from the heavens. Just leave it to us to speculate.

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