Monday, November 16, 2009
$25 Million For Bad Back Flip
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- This isn't the life 32-year-old Shane Downey pictured for himself 9 ½ years ago.
Back then he was an athlete and he loved gymnastics.But one bad landing after a double backflip on a piece of gymnastics equipment stopped all competition for Downey and left him paralyzed."There was no pain but everything was gone," Downey said. "I live a life but it's completely different now."Downey said it happened while he was helping out a coach at a local gymnastics center.He was asked to try out the Tumbl Trak, which is like a long, narrow trampoline.During his move something went wrong. Downey crushed his spinal cord.
His brother saw it all unfold."He said I needed to get up, I was scaring people," Downey said. "And while we where having that short conversation I realized that I was not OK and that I couldn't move."A jury found JC Sports, Inc. 100 percent negligent for Downey's injuries. Downey's lawyer said the staff wasn't spotting him, and he said they knew they couldn't, so they should have told Downey to stop.Now, they'll have to pay $25.5 million for the mistake."The sad part is they did nothing, and that's what the distinction is," Downey's attorney
Mitch Woodleif said. "They did not do any supervision whatsoever. They didn't say, 'Stop.' They didn't say, 'Don't do that kind of pass.' They didn't say anything."Downey said the money from the lawsuit won't give him his life back.In fact, most of it will just go to pay his mounting medical bills and the ones that are still to come.
Downey's attorney said the family has faced $3 million in medical bills already."Pretty much the only thing I can do on my own is eat and move around in my chair," Downey said. "I mean, I have to have someone around to help me get dressed and to change clothes and to help me go to the bathroom and take a shower and go from one place to the next. And I mean, you lose a lot of dignity whenever you can't do things for yourself."