Playground Fall

Recreation-Expert-Witness

James Weagley, MS, ATC, Recreation Expert
Case Description/Summary: The plaintiff, a young boy participating in a summer camp program, fell from a playground structure when he was startled by a counselor yelling for him to get down. He sustained injuries, which required surgery and left him with residual pain and loss of motion. The plaintiff claimed that the playground was unsupervised during the time of the incident.
Analysis: According to the plaintiff’s attorney, the boy had been hanging on the outside of the playground structure and was startled when a playground supervisor yelled at him, causing his fall. Per the training manual, staff members were encouraged not to yell when they observe a child not complying with playground rules, as it might frighten them and cause an accident. The playground supervisor’s deposition indicated there were 30-50 children at the camp. The staff consisted of 10 counselors/counselors in training, a supervisor and assistant supervisor. Each staff member received a manual and training prior to the start of camp. The manual section entitled “Playground Safety” specifically required staff to be proactive by insuring proper use of all equipment. Staff members were required to demonstrate the correct method of use before the children were able to go on the playground. The plaintiff received instruction from the summer camp staff about proper use of the playground equipment and his mother reported providing instruction to him as well. Continue reading “Playground Fall”