Rugby Player Successfully Sues Heavier Opponent For £10 Million After Belly Flop Paralysed Her

By Haider Ali in Sports On 25th February 2023

A rugby player who suffered paralysis after being crushed by a stronger opponent has been awarded a big settlement.

Dani Czernuszka was struck by Natasha King in an act of "revenge" and sustained terrible, permanent injuries, the court heard.

The horrific collision occurred in a 2017 game between Ms. King's Redingensians RFC and Bracknell Ladies, a Berkshire rival.

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Ms. Czernuszka was allegedly waiting for the ball while crouching down on the pitch when Ms. King slammed into her, according to the High Court hearing.

The judge was informed that Ms. King grabbed her thigh and 'exerted her full weight downwards onto the head and back of the claimant in the manner of a "belly flop" such that her full weight pressed down heavily on the claimant’s spine'.

The impact caused the 34-year-spine old's to break, requiring a wheelchair for her.

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Later, Ms. Czernuszka sued Ms. King for £10,000,000.

Ms. Czernuszka asserted during the trial that she and Ms. King, who she claims was seeking "revenge" that day, were clearly different sizes.

The mother testified in court that the two had developed a "beef" after an earlier tackle in which Ms. King had fared worse, and she subsequently overheard Ms. King saying: "That f**king number seven, I’m going to break her."

Representing her, Robert Weir KC said: "The claimant was thereby pinned in a bent-over position by the actions of the first defendant.

"She sustained an immediate severe spinal fracture and spinal cord injury as a direct result of this tackle."

He acknowledged that Ms. King had no intention of seriously hurting his client, but he claimed she was reckless and "threw her weight around" on the field.

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Ms. King told the court that she was not that kind of individual in response to the accusations.

"I don’t play rugby for revenge," she said.

While her barrister Geoffrey Brown added: "It was a rugby injury, arising through the risks inherent in playing the game, not through any fault on the part of Ms. King."

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The court none the less chose to side with Ms. Czernuszka.

The court ruled that Ms. King's life-altering injuries were the direct result of her going out that day intending to harm her opponent.

"I have no doubt that the defendant did, as the claimant said, utter the words, 'That f**king number 7, I’m going to break her'," the judge said.

"Thereafter, she was looking for an opportunity to get her revenge on the claimant, the red mist had metaphorically descended over the defendant’s eyes.

"That opportunity came about three minutes later when, after a ruck, the claimant took up the position of acting scrum-half, and bent down to pick up the ball.

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"She drove the claimant backward and, importantly, downwards using her full weight and strength to crush the claimant in a maneuver which was obviously dangerous and liable to cause injury.

"I, therefore, find that in this very unusual and exceptional context...the defendant is liable to the claimant for the injuries which the claimant sustained, and there shall be judgment for the claimant."