An elderly Nebraska woman who was hit in the head by an errant discus at the state track meet in 2014 will receive a $350,000 payout.
According to the lawsuit filed in 2015 and obtained by the Omaha World-Herald, Bernice Gorecki of Farwell, Neb., was a spectator at the track meet at Burke (Omaha). Gorecki, now 83, was standing in the portion of the field designated for visitors during warmups for the Class D boys competition when she was hit in the head with a discus that had been thrown by one of the competitors.
A claim from her attorney, David C. Mullin, said Gorecki suffered “severe personal injuries, including a traumatic brain injury” and racked up medical expenses. She and her husband, David Gorecki, subsequently filed suit against Omaha Public Schools and the Nebraska State Activities Association, claiming they had failed to keep spectators safe.
Gorecki will receive $175,000 apiece from OPS and the NSAA, although per the World-Herald, the payout does not constitute an admission of liability. The payouts are made by the entities’ insurance companies.
A World-Herald story from the time said she was standing about 110 feet from the thrower. A boys regulation discus weighs 1.6 kilograms, or 3.5 pounds.
OPS spokeswoman Monique Farmer told the World-Herald that changes have been made since the incident, including a spectator fence being pushed back farther and additional signs warning spectators of potential risk being posted.
“Sometimes you have what I call an accident,” Becky Oakes, director of sports at the national federation, told the World-Herald. “Everybody is where they’re supposed to be and it still just happens.”