A RUGBY player is suing a heavier opponent she claims paralysed her by belly flopping on her at a scrum.
Dani Watts, 34, suffered the devastating injury in an amateur match in October 2017.
The mum of two says beefy Natasha King was playing too aggressively when she snapped her spine with a crunching, illegal tackle.
Personal trainer Miss Watts â now a wheelchair-user and in severe pain â is suing for millions of pounds in the first case of its kind in the womenâs game.
Her lawyer, Robert Weir KC, said: âThe nature of the tackle and its execution was not reasonable or lawful.
âMs King showed a reckless disregard for Miss Wattsâ safety.
âShe made no attempt to play the ball.â
After tackling Ms King legally, flanker Ms Watts was said to have been waiting in a crouched position to receive the ball from the ruck.
But Ms King was alleged to have been playing with âaggressive physicalityâ and to have tackled her opponent, âexerting her full weight downwardsâ with a belly flop.
Badly injured Ms Watts spent six months in hospital and has no movement left in her legs.
She now plays para ice hockey for Team GB. The precise amount claimed is not known but similar cases have led to multimillion-pound payouts.
However, Ms King, from Bracknell, Berks, insists there was nothing wrong with her tackle. Her lawyer, Geoffrey Brown, said: âIt was a rugby injury, arising through the risks inherent in playing the game.â
The case reached the High Court for a pre-trial hearing last week and will return for a full trial later.
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