Teen athlete sues U.S. Field Hockey Assoc. over tournament related head injuries

By Jon Campisi | Aug 8, 2013

A suburban Philadelphia teen athlete who sustained a concussion and a severe facial

laceration during a field hockey tournament two years ago that required her to undergo multiple operations by plastic surgeons has filed a personal injury claim against the United States Field Hockey Association.

Madison Harding, who resides in Warrington, Bucks County, filed suit on Aug. 7 against the Colorado-based organization over injuries she allegedly received on March 6, 2010, during a field hockey game at a national indoor tournament at the Virginia Beach Convention Center in Virginia.

According to the civil action, which was filed by Doylestown, Pa. attorney Joseph T. Thiroway, of Claims Worldwide LLC, Harding, while playing on Court 2 of the center against the team Spirit Eagles Central, was receiving the ball during a teammate’s pass when the ball struck an elevated edge of the tile floor and shot upward toward the plaintiff, striking the then-16-year-old girl in the forehead.

The suit blames the defendant for the incident, arguing that the USFHA allowed play to continue on the court despite having had warnings of its dangerous and unsafe conditions.

The group even held a meeting to hear the complaints of individuals, groups and teams concerning the condition of the court at the convention center, but it failed to take action to ensure the safety of its players and umpires for the remainder of the tournament, which took place from March 5 to 7, 2010, according to the complaint.

The suit says that the organization had been put on notice of the defective interlocking tile flooring – the tiles were allegedly loose, not locked in, broken, chipped, cracked and raised – following several injuries to players and umpires during the first day of the tournament, but that nothing was done to address the concerns.

The first surgery performed on the plaintiff was to close the open head wound, a procedure requiring a total of 21 stitches, and the second procedure, performed months later, was done to smooth out and flatten the jagged edges of the scar that arose from the girl’s injuries, the suit states.

“The severity of the laceration has resulted in severe scarring and disfigurement which is permanent in nature,” the complaint reads.

Harding claims she has also suffered from nervous system shock, great physical pain, mental anguish and humiliation, and that she was caused to spend large sums of money on medical treatment.

The suit also says that the plaintiff has a Healthcare Recoveries lien in excess of $6,000, which has been protected and must be paid upon the resolution of the civil case.

The complaint accuses the defendant of negligence for failing to take action regarding the defective flooring at the convention center despite having been aware of prior injuries to tournament participants during that same week of field hockey play.

“Defendant owed a duty to Plaintiff to inspect and make safe dangerous conditions that a reasonable inspection of the property would reveal,” the lawsuit states. “In the alternative, Defendant had a duty to warn of known unsafe and dangerous conditions then and there existing.”

Harding seeks damages in excess of $150,000, in addition to costs, delay damages and interest.


The federal case number is 2:13-cv-04541-LDD. 

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