Sunday 25 February 2018

Footballer who lost half his finger in astro pitch accident awarded €145k

Dublin stormed back to beat Meath by two points after extra-time. Photo: Sportsfile
Dublin stormed back to beat Meath by two points after extra-time. Photo: Sportsfile Newsdesk Newsdesk

A 23-year-old man who had to have most of his middle finger amputated following an accident during a football match has been awarded €145,000 by the High Court.

Dylan Massey, Mr Justice Anthony Barr said, suffered a " catastrophic degloving injury" to the finger on his right hand while retrieving a ball which had become stuck in netting at the side of astro turf pitch.

A ring on the finger became caught in a part of the fencing holding the netting, causing the injury.

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

The club argued it had signs up at the entry gates to the pitch advising no jewellery or rings should be worn.

He claimed he had suffered post traumatic stress disorder and pain since the incident and had a 16 per cent loss of function in his right and 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 he 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, he has been deprived of the ability to participate in sports to the level he had been prior to the accident, the judge said.

He assessed general damages for pain and suffering to date 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, ricocheted off a player,  and became lodged between the top of the surrounding fence and the netting which was above the fence.

With the assistance of two friends, Mr Massey was lifted up and was able to dislodge the ball.  It was while descending that that ring on his finger became caught in part of the fencing.

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

He found as fact 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.

The court had heard that since the accident, Mr Massey was unable to grip either a hurley or a racket.

He has not been able to return to playing Gaelic football although he has been playing some soccer at a recreational level and has also taken up running.

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