Sunday 22 April 2018

Rod Stewart fan awarded €15,000 for whiplash at Dublin concert

Rod Stewart kicks an autographed football into the audience at one of his concerts. Photo: Getty Images
Rod Stewart kicks an autographed football into the audience at one of his concerts. Photo: Getty Images
Rod Stewart. Photo: Getty Images

Grainne Cunningham and Ray Managh

Singer Rod Stewart has been drop-kicking footballs into concert crowds for over 30 years -- an act that usually delights fans keen to grab one of the autographed souvenirs.

But a Dublin concert-goer claimed she suffered whiplash injuries when one of Rod's footballs struck her at a Point Depot concert in 2005.

The incident led to concert promoters MCD being slapped with a damages bill of €15,000.

Sally Price, a lifelong fan of the flamboyant rocker, was awarded the sum by the Circuit Civil Court yesterday after a judge heard she continues to suffer whiplash-like injuries right up to the present.

The 64-year-old singer, who is appearing in the RDS, Dublin, next Sunday is such a keen supporter of Celtic Football Club that he used the Scottish soccer club as a term of endearment in his song 'You're in my Heart'.

It is usually during his performance of this song or the 1970s hit 'Hot Legs' that he kicks up to 30 autographed souvenir footballs out towards his usually delighted fans.

Having once trained to be professional footballer, Stewart once said that he failed because "I had the skills but not the enthusiasm". But on the night in question, he must have been out of practice because Ms Price, of The Brook, Rush, Co Dublin, was literally floored when the singer miskicked one of the balls into the rigging above the stage at the Dublin venue.

The ball struck her directly on the crown of her head, coming straight down at such a pace that it knocked her off her feet and left her dazed for minutes afterwards, the court heard.


Hugh O'Keeffe, counsel for Mrs Price, told the court the consequences of such a reckless act were foreseeable and left the concert promoters liable in negligence for whiplash-like injuries to Mrs Price's neck and shoulders.

Judge Jacqueline Linnane awarded Mrs Price €15,000 damages against MCD Promotions Ltd, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, saying she was satisfied Mrs Price had suffered concussion at the time as a result of the incident.

Mrs Price said she had been taken aside by medics and treated during the interval in Stewart's performance. She continues to suffer headaches and pain in her neck and shoulders.

"I have always been a fan of his music and the singer came down to see me as I was being treated," she said.

"I would have been so pleased to have met him on a happier occasion.

"I wanted to get up to my feet to meet him but I was unable to do so." She told Declan Buckley, counsel for the defendants, that she and her husband Eamon had standing-only tickets and had been given seating accommodation for the remainder of the concert.

Mr Stewart's management team had given her four autographed footballs, two of which her husband had given to the doctor who had treated her.

Mr Price said Stewart had been gently kicking the footballs into various sections of the crowd, and the ball he had miskicked just before the interval was one he had attempted to kick further back into the crowd.

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