Guard’s Jumping-Jack Injury Is Compensable

     (CN) – A Butte County correctional officer who was hurt while doing jumping jacks at home is entitled to workers’ compensation, a California appeals court ruled.
     Daniel Young started working for the Butte County Sheriff’s Department in 1994 and had served as a correctional sergeant since 1999.
     The department required Young and his colleagues to “maintain themselves in good physical condition so they can handle the strenuous physical contacts often required of a law enforcement officer,” according to the June 25 ruling by the Third Appellate District.
     Young testified that he also had to perform training excercises with a partner, “taking turns being the aggressor and the officer,” while working with control holds, takedowns and self-defense techniques.
     In addition, Young said he participated in “extremely strenuous” baton training, which involved battling an “inanimate object full out for a long period of time.”
     Butte County does not give officers time to get in shape for these exercises on the job, so he had to exercise at home, the sergeant added. His regimen included jumping jacks and other warm-up calisthenics, followed by use of a weight machine or elliptical.
     During one set of jumping jacks in January 2012, Young came down and felt “extreme stabbing pain in [his] left knee,” the decision states (brackets in original).
     Young, 64 years old at the time, reported the injury as work-related because of the department’s requirement that he stay in good shape.
     The workers’ compensation judge agreed with Young, but the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board did not.
     In reversing that decision last week, the Butte-based panel for the Court of Appeals agreed that Young’s injury was related to his job.
     “The department does not provide correctional sergeants with an opportunity to exercise or maintain a fitness regimen during work hours; nor does the department provide guidance as to the type of exercises or activities considered appropriate for maintaining the requisite level of fitness,” Justice Kathleen Butz wrote for the court.
     Sheriffs’ departments can “limit the scope of their potential liability by designating and/or preapproving athletic activities or fitness regimens,” the decision states.

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