A B.C. Supreme Court ruling could serve as a warning for anyone playing recreational sports about playing too rough after a rec player was seriously injured by an opponent.
A recreational soccer player has been awarded $103,000 in damages for an incident on the Windsor soccer field in North Vancouver during a match in May 2018.
According to the ruling, defendant Karl Cox slide tackled the plaintiff Jordan David Miller, taking out his legs, causing him to fall and suffering a grade three shoulder dislocation.
While the slide tackle was legal under game rules, the judge concluded the defendant was negligent in his execution of the move.
In the ruling on March 9, Justice Wendy A. Baker said Cox’s actions were “dangerous and reckless and outside the conduct a player would reasonably expect in this recreational league.”
She ordered him to pay Miller $103,000.
“We all sign up for some risks but this wasn’t part of what we signed up for,” said Seth Wheeldon, the plaintiff’s lawyer.
“It was really about the judge determining did it cross the threshold of what we consent to do when we play sports.”
Wheeldon says rec league lawsuits are rare, but not unheard of.
An Ontario rec hockey player was awarded more than $700,000 after a blindside hit that he said left him with life altering injuries in 2020.
“The vast majority of sports don’t involve injury, the vast majority of injuries don’t involve law. But it’s worth considering what your rights are,” said Wheeldon.
Meantime, a coach with many years in the game believes this latest incident speaks to the ongoing issue of excess physicality in all levels of the sport.
“I’ve played in many countries around the world and unfortunately our Canadian soccer is a mix of hockey and soccer,” said Michel Soccer School Founder Michel Ibrahim.
“Especially in B.C., it’s rough. It’s played in a matter of kill or be killed. I have been coaching for 30 years. It never changes.”
As for where the money would come from, Wheeldon did not speak to the specifics of the case. However, he explained damages are typically paid out of the defendants homeowners insurance.
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