Paralysed rugby player who sued heavier opponent for £10m after she belly flopped on her WINS fight for compensation | The Sun
A PARALYSED rugby player who sued a heavier opponent for £10million after she belly-flopped on her has won her fight for compensation.
Dani Czernuszka, 34, suffered the horror injury when opposing player Natasha King sought "revenge" and crushed her in a tackle, a court heard.
The mum-of-two's spine was snapped during the amateur match in October 2017, leaving her bound to a wheelchair and in severe pain.
Dani sued King in the High Court last month – in the first case of its kind in the women’s game.
And the judge has today ruled in the mum's favour – with her lawyers estimating the value of her claim at about £10million.
The horror unfolded as the game between Dani's Redingensians RFC of Reading and Berkshire rivals Bracknell Ladies neared its end.
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Dani was said to be in the crouched position waiting to receive the ball from her side when King tackled her.
The High Court heard King forced her full weight onto the head and back of the mum, with her full weight pressed down on Dani's spine.
MailOnline reported Dani's lawyer Robert Weir KC told the court onlookers described the tackle like a "belly-flop" or "like she was frog splatting on her".
Dani was raced to hospital, where she had to stay for six months.
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She is now bound to a wheelchair because she has no movement in her legs.
Mr Weir argued: "This was a deliberate act of retaliation, designed to smash the claimant, although without the intention to injure."
He accepted that King had not set out to injure his client, but claimed she was reckless and "threw her weight around" on the pitch.
Mr Weir said that at the time King was fuming over how the game had panned out.
This was partly caused by an earlier clash between the two players where King tried to tackle Dani, who is smaller than her, but "came off worse".
Dani told the court she heard King, after that clash, say : "That f***ing number seven, I'm going to break her."
But King, who was not penalised by the referee during the match, argued it was a "proper and legitimate" tackle.
She was looking for an opportunity to get her revenge on the claimant, the red mist had metaphorically descended over the defendant's eyes.
She also denied showing "reckless disregard" for Dani's safety, telling the judge: "I don't play rugby for revenge."
Her lawyer Geoffrey Brown also argued that by playing rugby, Dani "impliedly consented to the risk of injury".
Mr Brown said: "It was a rugby injury, arising through the risks inherent in playing the game, not through any fault on the part of Ms King."
However, the judge ruled in Dani's favour.
He said he found the tackle was "executed with reckless disregard".
He said: "She was looking for an opportunity to get her revenge on the claimant, the red mist had metaphorically descended over the defendant's eyes.
"The defendant, without any regard for the wellbeing or safety of the claimant and intent only on exacting revenge, executed the 'tackle' in a manner which is not recognised in rugby.
"She drove the claimant backwards and, importantly, downwards using her full weight and strength to crush the claimant in a manoeuvre which was obviously dangerous and liable to cause injury.
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"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,' the judge concluded."
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