West Van student sues over field hockey injury

The West Vancouver school district is facing a lawsuit from one of its students over a sports injury she took in field hockey practice.

The case raises the question of who takes responsibility for kids’ safety on the school sports field.

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On Oct. 2, 2014, the 14-year-old West Vancouver Secondary student was taking part in a field hockey practice when she took a ball to the mouth and suffered injuries to her teeth, jaw and face, resulting in chronic pain and mental injuries, her claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court states.

The school district was negligent, the student alleged, because staff did not instruct or force students to wear their mouth guards, or even warn the students about the risks of not wearing mouth guards. The supervisors at the field hockey practice were not appropriately qualified, the claim continued.

“The plaintiff was not instructed to wear a mouth guard. The majority of the players, if not all of them, were not wearing mouth guards,” the claim states.

The teen is asking the court to order the West Vancouver school district to pay her past and future healthcare costs, damages for loss of income as well as past and future earning capacity, general damages, and legal costs.

The school district has filed a statement of defence denying virtually all of the teen’s claims.

If the student suffered any injury, loss, damage or expense, it was caused or contributed to by her own negligence, the school district argues, specifically that she failed to take sufficient regard for her own safety, that she failed to follow the rules and instructions from her coaches, and that she failed to wear her mouthguard while she knew it was required.

“All players on the field hockey team, including the plaintiff, were required to wear personal protective equipment, which included a mouth guard, during all practice scrimmages and games,” the school district’s lawyers wrote. “The plaintiff knew, or ought to have known, that she was required to wear protective equipment, including a mouth guard, during all field hockey practice scrimmages and games.”

The case has yet to be heard in court and none of the claims have been proven.

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