Family Blames Inflatable Sumo Suit for Girl's Brain Injury

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 6's Gilma Avalos has the details on a family that is suing an event group and a local charter school after the family said their daughter suffered brain injuries while in an inflatable sumo wrestling suit. (Published Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014)

    An inflatable sumo wrestling suit is at the center of a lawsuit from the family of a 15-year-old freshman student at Mater Academy in Hialeah Gardens.

    According to the lawsuit, Celaida LIssabet, 15, was dressed in the inflatable suit at the school’s “Spirit Day” when things went wrong.

    The suit lets people have mock sumo wrestling matches where the wrestlers try to push each other out of a ring. In the version played in the sumo suits, the match is conducted on a ring that features a protective mat.

    But the lawsuit claims that Lissabet was not fitted in the suit properly and she ended up with severe brain damage after her head repeatedly hit the floor.

    “Her head was hurting and her vision was blurry and she didn’t want to do it anymore,” Celaida’s mom Raquel Lissabet said. “The third time she was finally knocked down and they stood her up and sent her to class.”

    The suit said as a result of the injuries Celaida suffered, she can no longer communicate properly and displays child-like behavior.

    “It’s not my daughter,” Raquel Lissabet said. “It’s a completely different person. She now acts about seven or eight years old. She hasn’t been back to school. I don’t know if she’s ever going back to school.”

    The lawsuit targets both Mater Academy and Mega Party Events, the company that provided the suits used during the Spirit Day activities. The lawsuit claims both the school and the event company failed to provide adequately trained employees or personnel at the time of the accident, or adequately fitting protective helmets.

    The director of the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools said they could not confirm that Mater Academy had been served with the lawsuit, “therefore I cannot comment at this time.” Mega Party Events told NBC 6 that their equipment is up to the standards of the industry and that the victim was taken to the hospital several hours after she had left the event.

    “You send your kids off to school to be safe and like I said, you come back and in a split second, your whole life has changed,” Raquel said. “She had plans. She had big plans which are no longer going to be.”

    According to the Miami Herald, there have been other lawsuits over the inflatable sumo wrestling suits. The Herald reported that in a Colorado case where a woman claimed she suffered severe brain damage while in the suit and was awarded $2 million in damages by a jury.

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