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Archive for Sunday, May 4, 2003

Student sues KU over injuries

Suit claims lack of supervision at sumo wrestling event

May 4, 2003

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A Kansas University student who claims she was injured while wrestling in a giant padded sumo suit in an on-campus residence hall is suing the school for $75,000.

Heather Fuqua, 20, claims in the suit filed Thursday in Douglas County District Court that KU failed to supervise a May 2001 wrestling match at Ellsworth Hall in which she suffered injuries to her skull, head and brain.

Oversized sumo suits have been popular on college campuses since as early as the mid-1990s as an attraction at back-to-school and springtime festivals.

Fuqua's attorney, Jim Stanley of Leawood, said his client had a hard time putting her helmet on and that the person supervising the event told her she didn't need to wear it.

Fuqua, who weighs about 100 pounds, faced off against a larger male student, and when they ran at each other, he knocked her off of the mat and onto a concrete floor, Stanley said.

Stanley said Fuqua fractured her skull in two places, spent two weeks hospitalized at KU Med, Kansas City, Kan., and still suffers spells of dizziness and vomiting.

The suit also names the Kansas Board of Regents and the entertainment companies that supplied the equipment. It asks for a judgment of $75,000 against each defendant.

A KU spokeswoman, said she couldn't comment because of the pending litigation.

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