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Friday 13 December 2019
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Nat’l discus athlete to sue NAAA after injury

TT discus thrower Quincy Wilson.  - ALLAN V CRANE
TT discus thrower Quincy Wilson. - ALLAN V CRANE

NARISSA FRASER

NATIONAL discus thrower Quincy Wilson, 28, is suing the TT National Association of Athletics (NAAATT) after being injured at one of its competitions.

On July 28, Wilson competed in the National Open Senior Championships’ men’s discus throw, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, in Port of Spain. He went up against Keon Francis, Clarence Hannibal, Micah McNish, Peterson McDavid and Gabriel Guerra. He won with a throw of 52.82 metres, which he achieved on his first throw, but slipped and fell on his fifth throw.

In a 110-page court document filed, on Monday, the association was accused of using the “wrong substance” to cover the discus circle, causing it to be slippery, thus failing to ensure it was of a “requisite standard of safety.”

The document claims he suffered from loss and damage including: shock and severe pain, a meniscal tear on right knee, pain in both knees, psychological damage, mental damage, distress and loss amenity.

Wilson, an eight-time national senior champion, has represented TT both locally and internationally and holds the national discus record of 59.65m.

He has been unable to train for the upcoming track and field season ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. He also had to take sick leave from his job for 23 days, losing $5,405, and cannot apply for elite funding from the Office of the Prime Minister or Ministry of Sport because of the injury.

He believes the association has a “duty” to pay for or facilitate his rehabilitation.

“This has affected his mood and/or personality. Because he continues to be in extreme pain as a consequence of the accident, he has been unable to participate in regular household chores and duties. The claimant has been unable to enjoy the company of his family and/or properly undertake his duties as a father and/or husband because of the physical pain and because of the mental anguish caused by the accident and its impact on his professional sporting career.”

On August 3, Wilson e-mailed NAATT secretary Dexter Voisin to enquire whether the association would be providing medical treatment or physiotherapy to assist with his recovery. After receiving no feedback, it was sent again on August 5.

Voisin then replied saying the association was awaiting reports from the technical officials, who were at the Championships, and asked Wilson to send the results from his next doctor’s visit on August 7.

But after visiting the Orthopaedic Outpatient Clinic, at the Port of Spain General Hospital, doctors said he should do an MRI and he was placed on a waiting list. He still has not been contacted but cannot afford to continue the procedure privately, and has not been able to see a doctor since August 28. “He is distraught, distressed, and/or depressed and seeks the Honourable Court’s urgent assistance and/or interim relief and/or expedited trial.

On November 6, Tyrone Marcus – the attorney representing the association, proposed mediation as opposed to litigation as the NAAA does not want to damage its relationship with the athlete. They are seeking an official response by November 18.

“The disputing parties have had a longstanding, healthy relationship as athlete and national governing body. Mediation is the best option to preserve that relationship.

“Whether intended or not, litigation tends to sever such relationships due to its adversarial nature.”

He said the association is a “key stakeholder” in Wilson’s preparations for the 2020 Olympics, and that the length and cost of litigation would not benefit anyone.

He described mediation as a “without prejudice process that leaves intact your client’s right to pursue litigation should the mediation fail to resolve this matter.”

Wilson is being represented by five attorneys, including Jason Jones. Speaking with Newsday yesterday afternoon, Jones said while he and his client have “no issue” with mediation, the association’s response did not address all concerns. He said the fundamental request was to have an out-of-court position on liabilities.

“The immediate concern and question was really concerning liability. We were very clear as to what we would have wanted indication of and the response from the NAAA did not deal squarely with the question on liabilities.”

Newsday contacted NAAA president Ephraim Serrette for a response but he said he had no comment as lawyers are dealing with the situation.

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