A soccer player sued Adidas claiming the blades on Predator Plus boots left him with visible scars on his head after he was kicked during an U-14 game.
His legal team argued in the High Court in Cork the studs on the boots, known as blades, were sharper than regular studs and the boots were a “defective product”. The case dates back 10 years.
Gary Dennehy, of 53 Woodlawn Road, Togher, Cork, is 25 now. He was injured while playing an underage match for his team Casement Celtic against College Corinthians.
He went to head a ball and an opponent went to kick the ball during the match at the Corinthians’ ground in Grange, Cork, on December 17, 2005.
The plaintiff’s senior counsel, Seán Lynch, said: “There was an extremely serious laceration to his head measuring 13cm and requiring multiple staples and matters of this nature. The scar is visible through his hair. Our case is this was a dangerous product. They [the studs] are known as blades for good reason.”
Mr Lynch said at the time of this incident conical studs on the boot could be replaced and were popular because they gave players great traction. “They are far sharper than a normal stud. We say it was a defective product,” Mr Lynch submitted in his opening of the case.
Defence senior counsel Michael Gleeson said there was a full defence of the action. He said the Adidas Predator Plus boot had been approved by all the Football Associations and world governing body.
He referred to the safety record of the boot which sold up to 200,000 pairs in Ireland and the UK in 2005 when the disputed accident occurred and must have been used in literally millions of matches.
Mr Gleeson also challenged whether the other player had even been wearing Adidas Predator Plus boots as he said they never came in silver with three blue stripes as described by the plaintiff.
Mr Dennehy said he did not play again after sustaining the head injury. “I would not boast but I was a great player, you could ask any manager. I didn’t go back after. I didn’t have the confidence to head a ball.”
The boots worn by the other boy were disposed of afterwards and were not available to the plaintiff’s legal team for examination, Mr Lynch SC said. Cross-examining the plaintiff, Mr Gleeson SC for Adidas said, “That sort of stud would not cause that injury. It would need some sort of jagged edge.” Mr Dennehy replied: “So how did I get the injury?”
Mr Gleeson said: “The player must have been using boots that were damaged or had a jagged edge.”
As the case was about to resume in the afternoon there were discussions outside the courtroom. Mr Lynch SC later asked Mr Justice Kevin Cross to dismiss the case on consent. The case was dismissed with no further order.
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