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Senior citizen sues private school after she was hit by soccer ball while walking by field

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

A senior citizen near a prestigious high school in Nashville has filed one of the more extraordinary lawsuits of recent times, claiming that she was knocked unconscious by a soccer ball that errantly flew off an elevated field on top of the school and hit her in the head.

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The Montgomery Bell parking garage and soccer facility — AMSYSCO

The Montgomery Bell parking garage and soccer facility — AMSYSCO

As reported by the Tennessean, 73-year-old Josephine Bainbridge, who lives near the Nashville (Tenn.) Montgomery Bell Academy (MBA), has filed a lawsuit against the well respected private all-boys high school claiming that her life has been irretrievably damaged by an injury she suffered while walking around the side of the school.

According to Bainbridge, she was walking around the perimeter of the school in June 2012 when a soccer ball flew from above and struck her on the left side of the head, knocking her down to the street and rendering her unconscious. Bainbridge’s attorney, Scott Derrick, claims his plaintiff is no longer the active, engaging person she was before being struck by the soccer ball, as the incident allegedly has had long-lasting physical and mental effects on the senior citizen.

Most salient in terms of Bainbridge’s legal claims, Derrick writes in filing the suit that MBA was unnecessarily reckless in its planning and construction of the soccer facility --which sits atop a three-story parking garage -- because it failed to provide ample netting or other safety features which would keep passers by from coming in contact with balls used in games.

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The annual MBA alumni soccer game on top of the school's parking lot — MontgomeryBell.edu

The annual MBA alumni soccer game on top of the school's parking lot — MontgomeryBell.edu

“There was no netting along the sides of the field to keep a kicked soccer ball from leaving the field,” he writes in the suit.

Officials from MBA were not immediately available for comment.

MBA “knew of the unsafe condition caused by its use of the rooftop soccer field and the way in which it was designed and used,” the lawsuit says. “The risk to others caused by a kicked soccer ball coming off the rooftop soccer field is clearly forseeable.”

The Bainbridge lawsuit could provide a new threshold of culpability for prep sports facilities, depending on its outcome. Should MBA be held accountable, other community members who might be incidentally struck by balls that travel outside the dimensions of local ball fields -- think baseballs on Little League and high school fields, for instance --would be able to file suits for sizable damages.

That won’t be the case if MBA prevails, once it’s officials can get over the shock that it may be feeling from being sued in the first place.

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