The Korea Herald


Overtraining cause of fall that left promising gymnast paralyzed: court

By Park Han-na

Published : Dec. 9, 2021 - 14:09

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A local court has ruled in favor of a once-promising gymnast who became paralyzed after being injured in an excessive training regime enforced by school trainers, ordering related parties to pay her 1.2 billion won ($1 million) in compensation.

The Incheon District Court said Thursday it has handed the 22-year-old plaintiff a partial win in the damage suit filed against Incheon Metropolitan City, the operator of the school she attended, and Incheon School Safety Mutual Aid Association.

Ahead of a gymnastics championship back in 2015, the high school gymnast suffered a fall while performing a complex gymnastics maneuver during a practice session and broke her neck bone and damaged her spinal cord, which left her paralyzed.

The court attributed the accident to physical exhaustion she experienced because of repetitive practice forced by trainers.

“The accident occurred due to a lack of physical strength even though she had considerable proficiency in the maneuver whereby she won top prizes in competitions since her first year of middle school,” the court said.

The court found Incheon Metropolitan City responsible for compensating for the damage as it is the employer of the trainers and school leaders who should have foreseen the possibility of such an accident.

The court, however, limited the responsibility of the city to 60 percent, saying that the former gymnast did not request that the training be stopped.