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Roller derby hits hard in West Virginia

Roller derby has seen a resurgence in popularity in the last 10 years, and Hollywood movies have taken note. What Hollywood has left out in its movies, however, is the fact that the sheer physicality of the sport may result in injuries. For players, some may worry about being subjected to legal liability, and wonder what to expect in a personal injury lawsuit.

For West Virginia's first roller derby team, any such fears have so far been avoided. That's not to say that the players are timid, by any stretch of the imagination. According to a recent interview, the team brawls it out in practice every Sunday morning. The long practices build up the endurance of the relatively new team, which they hope will allow them to wear down opposing teams with more experience.

In roller derby, bumps and bruises are a normal part of the game, along with the occasional broken bone. The team also takes safety precautions: helmets are required for all sanctioned bouts to prevent brain injury. However, even while wearing a helmet, a head injury can happen with the intentional shoving and pushing of roller derby.

By engaging in a sporting activity, there may be some assumption of risk by the players. Yet competing in a sport known to be rough does not always preclude remedies in a civil lawsuit. For example, an injury intentionally inflicted by one player to another in the course of a game or match may be grounds for a personal injury suit. The injured player will need to prove that the injury he or she received was inflicted by someone whose actions went beyond the standard scope of play. Once proven, the injured person may be entitled to compensation.

Anyone injured by the negligent actions of someone else may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. Sports-related injuries are not immediately precluded from remedy just because the person chose to engage in the activity. An attorney will be able to explain the different options available to you.

Source: The Charleston Gazette, "Rollergirls ready to rumble at FestiBRAWL," Bill Lynch, June 13, 2012

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