A 15-year-old Columbia girl, who broke her neck three years ago diving into shallow water at a neighborhood pool, has filed a $7 million lawsuit with her parents against the Columbia Association.
The suit claims poorly trained pool employees did nothing to prevent the accident and offered no medical help.
As a result of the injury June 24, 1988, the suit reads, Serin Saadi underwent major surgery to repair the break and continues to receive therapy and treatment for related problems.
The suit charges the Columbia Association with negligent hiring of swim coaches, sayingthe pool staff did not provide children with close supervision and detailed in
structions about how to dive into three feet of water. The Columbia Association manages neighborhood pools in Columbia.
"It's lucky this is not a case where she was permanently paralyzed, but she does have permanent injuries," said Richard E. Joy, the lawyer representing the Saadi family. "She generally has to be careful aboutfurther trauma to the neck area. It's not as strong as it was before, by any means."
The Columbia Association and the Saadi family declined to comment.
According to the lawsuit, filed in Howard CountyCircuit Court, Serin, 12 at the time of the accident, was attending a swim team practice at the Phelp's Luck neighborhood pool. Swim teamcoaches told her to dive into the shallow end of the pool and swim to the deep end.
Serin hit her head on the bottom of the pool, experienced numbness and shaking and lost consciousness, the lawsuit says. After regaining consciousness, she was unable to get out of the pool by herself and fell in the water three times before another child helped her out.
"None of the coaching staff tried to assist her, and apparently did not observe the incident, although it was their dutyto supervise and provide instruction and assistance to the children,if needed," the lawsuit says.
After the accident, Serin had difficulty dressing herself in the bath house and fell when she bent over.She told one of the swim coaches of the accident and her symptoms and said she was going home, the suit claims.
Without examining her or asking about the injuries, the suit says, the coach allowed her towalk home alone and did not notify her parents.
"Children of sucha young age are often not able to vocalize their injuries, and therefore any complaint of injury, especially a diving injury, should havebeen followed up and monitored by the coaching staff," the lawsuit charges.