December 02, 2010
Sometimes, athletes get injured in ways that make them seem like everyday slobs like you and me. My personal favorite involves former MLB outfielder Glenallen Hill having such a violent nightmare about spiders that he bumped into a glass table and fell down a flight of stairs while asleep, resulting in a stint on the disabled list.
Last fall, the NBA had its latest bizarre injury when Kings swingman Francisco Garcia(notes) broke his wrist during a workout routine on an exercise ball that exploded. Garcia was in line to start before missing 57 games in 2009-10. It was a big blow for the Kings as they tried to rebuild their franchise. No team -- even one used to the lottery -- should have to start Andres Nocioni(notes).
Now, the team is looking to recoup some of its wasted money from that season by suing the makers of the exercise ball that felled Garcia. From the Associated Press:
Roger Dreyer, a lawyer representing the team, said Wednesday swingman Francisco Garcia broke his right wrist in October 2009 after the ball --known as the Gymnic "Burst Resistant" Plus Stability Ball -- actually did burst while Garcia was laying on it lifting weights.
The lawsuit seeks $4 million from Italy-based manufacturer Ledraplastic, ball distributor M-F Athletic Company and Ball Dynamics International. That's how much the team says it paid Garcia during games he missed because of the injury. [...]
Dreyer said a laboratory examined the broken ball and determined it was not abused before it exploded.
"It was advertised to be burst-resistant, but obviously it was not," Dreyer told The Associated Press. "We will be able to prove that, for a very small expense, the ball could've been made more thicker and provided the burst-resistant capacity as advertised."
I would really love to visit the Kings' exercise ball science facility, which I can only imagine is full of beakers and cut-up plastic sitting under the world's most powerful electron microscope. DeMarcus Cousins(notes) is the head researcher, and he is a surprisingly stern master.
Far be it from me to question the merit of this suit -- I'm no legal eagle -- but this case seems interesting in regards to third-party culpability for all future athlete injuries. Perhaps Garcia assumed there were no risks involved with this exercise ball, but he was still doing weight training on an inflatable piece of plastic. There are inherent risks in any athletic activities, and it's unclear how easily we can decide which are acceptable and which must be repaid in cash.
Hopefully this will not open a wild world of legal shenanigans on the basketball court. No one wants to see Kobe Bryant(notes) sue Spalding because he jammed his pinky finger on the ball while going for a steal.