School Off Hook for Pro Wrestler’s Paralyzing Injury

(CN) – An injured pro wrestler cannot collect damages from a high school because the fall that paralyzed him was planned, not accidental, a New York appeals court ruled.

Patrick Kingston, a five-year ring veteran, sued Cardinal O’Hara High School, The Diocese of Buffalo and The Boys and Girls Club of the Northtowns Foundation Inc.

Kingston, who wrestled under the name Patrick Poison, complained that he hurt his neck and back when he jumped off a loose ring rope and flipped to the canvas during a match in 2011.

His GoFundMe page, which seeks $4,000 in donations to help him buy a standing frame to relieve his pressure ulcers, says the injury left him paralyzed.

Kingston alleged a violation of New York’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Law, which includes a “protection of aerial performers from accidental falls.”

The trial court ruled in favor of the defendants, and the Rochester-based New York Appellate Division’s Fourth Department agreed in an unsigned opinion.

“We agree with the court that plaintiff was injured when he executed a maneuver that included a planned jump with an acrobatic flip onto the wrestling ring’s surface from the ropes surrounding the ring, rather than from an accidental fall, and thus the statute is inapplicable,” the ruling states.

The appeals court justices added that the trial court also correctly dismissed Kingston’s negligence complaint due to the inherent risks of pro wrestling.

“A participant in such activity consents to those commonly appreciated risks which are inherent in and arise out of the nature of the activity generally and flow from such participation,” the justices wrote.

The opinion states that Kingston was “plainly aware” that the rope was “slightly looser.”

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