€145k for man who severely injured finger playing soccer

A 23-year-old man who suffered a severe injury playing five-a-side football and later had to have most of his middle finger amputated has been awarded €145,000 by the High Court.

€145k for man who severely injured finger playing soccer

Dylan Massey, Mr Justice Anthony Barr said, suffered a “catastrophic degloving injury” to the middle finger of his right hand while retrieving a ball which had become stuck in the netting at the side of an astroturf football pitch.

Degloving injuries occur when a significant amount of skin is removed from a finger.

Mr Massey, Woodgrove, Ballivor, Co Meath, sued Longwood GAA Club, Longwood, Co Meath, as a result of the accident, which occurred on August 5, 2014.

He claimed he had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and pain since the incident and had a 16% loss of function in his right dominant hand.

The judge said Mr Massey had hoped to be selected for the Meath Gaelic football team at the time of the accident and it would appear that he had had a realistic chance of making the team.

The award of damages must take account of the fact that as a result of the accident, Mr Massey has been deprived of the ability to participate in sports to the level he had been prior to the accident which, Mr Justice Barr said for Mr Massey “is a considerable loss”.

General damages for pain and suffering to date the judge assessed at €65,000, together with future general damages of €60,000 and €20,00 for loss of opportunity.

The accident, the judge said, occurred towards the end of the five-a-side game when Mr Massey took a shot at goal but the ball missed the goal, ricocheted off a player, and became lodged between the top of the surrounding fence and ball-stop netting which was above the fence.

Mr Massey had, with the assistance of two friends, been lifted up and was able to dislodge the ball. However, while descending, a ring on the middle finger of his right hand became caught in a part of the fencing, causing a severe degloving injury.

The club has contended that signs advising that no jewellery or rings should be worn while participating in activities at the facility were erected either side of the entry gate to the pitch.

Mr Justice Barr said he preferred the evidence of Mr Massey that there were no notices in place at the time of his accident.

The judge also found as a fact that the club failed in its duty of care as an occupier of the property to maintain the ball stop netting in a safe and proper condition and, in particular, in the failure to ensure the netting did not become slack over time.

Mr Justice Barr said Mr Massey was a very keen and accomplished sportsman prior to the accident, playing soccer, Gaelic football, hurling, and badminton.

Since the accident, Mr Massey had told the court he was unable to grip either a hurl or a racket and due to the pain in the finger when it is struck, has had not been able to return to Gaelic football. He has got back to playing some soccer but only at a recreational level, and has taken up running since.

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