Last week, we discussed an accident involving several acrobats who fell while performing an aerial circus act. Recently, the press has released additional information regarding the acrobats’ status.
The two acrobats who sustained the most serious injuries are suffering critical spinal cord injuries. These two women are faced with the uncertainty of whether they will ever walk again. The acrobats’ neurosurgeon stated that the two women have some feeling in their legs, but that they can only move them in marginal increments. If they are eventually able to walk again, the doctor suggested that it will still take at least one to two years of rehabilitation and physical therapy to reach that point.
While federal and local investigations remain ongoing, officials have recognized that an improperly installed clamp might have been the cause of this workplace accident. During the act, the eight acrobats were hanging from their hair, attached to a 350-pound chandelier-like apparatus supported by the clamp.
One acrobat was recently released from the hospital. She was the acrobat that suffered the least serious injuries in her troupe, though she still experienced spinal fractures, cuts to her head that required stitches, and other injuries. She is the only one of her cohort of acrobats that can currently walk without support. This acrobat hopes to become part of the tour again in the future.
While acrobats might understand that they have a dangerous job, their employer is still responsible for verifying that all safety precautions are taken during performances in order to prevent accidents.
According to an article in San Antonio Express-News, The International Labour Board found that approximately 90 percent of workplace accidents are avoidable. In case of an accident, the consultation of an attorney can help to provide insight into your situation and your rights
Source: CBS News, "Only time will tell if 2 injured circus acrobats will walk again, doctors say," May 7, 2014Source: San Antonio Express-News, “Workplace safety worth investment,” Jim Sierra and Woody Hill, May 13, 2014