Dangers of Extreme Sports Facilities – What Operators Will Not Report - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

Dangers of Extreme Sports Facilities – What Operators Will Not Report


The dangers and risks associated with extreme sports that keep many people away from them are also what attract those individuals who choose to participate. News reports of children and young adults suffering serious, life-altering injuries while participating in high-risk activities at privately owned facilities highlight not only the dangers but also the need for increased regulatory oversight of a growing industry.

The difficulty of getting information about accidents

Ontario is one of many places in Canada offering people the chance to experience the adrenaline rush associated with participation in high-risk activities, including:

  • Skydiving
  • Bungie jumping
  • Parasailing
  • Rock climbing
  • Mountain biking
  • Heli-skiing
  • Ice climbing
  • Snow-kiting
  • White-water rafting
  • Skateboarding

People participating in dangerous activities assume the risks associated with them, but assessing the risk of being injured is difficult when it comes to extreme sports facilities. Although owners admit they keep track of accidents and injuries occurring at their facilities, there is currently no requirement that the information be made available to the public.

Even though facilities do not make injury reports public, records of hospitalizations related to winter sports from the Canadian Institute for Health Information showed 5,600 people were seriously injured and hospitalized in 2011. This data is not limited to extreme sports, but it does offer some insight into the extent of the danger and risk of injury associated with recreational activities.

Assumption of risk and extreme sports

The Occupiers’ Liability Act in Ontario makes owners and occupiers of facilities liable for injuries on their land or in their buildings caused either by the property condition or by the nature of the activities engaged in while on it. Besides the owners and occupiers, the law imposes a duty to take reasonable care to ensure the safety of others using the property on anyone having control of the facilities or the activities taking place on or within them.

When someone participates in a risky activity, owners of a facility might rely upon a provision of the law dealing with a participant’s assumption of the risks customarily associated with the activity. For instance, there is a risk of falling associated with rock climbing that an adult would normally perceive as being part that particular activity. However, when children are the participants, as they are with many extreme sports, experts point out that young people spend less time considering the risks and dangers of an activity than do adults.

Because of the lack of government oversight of extreme sports in which children might participate, parents are encouraged to assess the safety of the facilities for themselves. One way to do this is to ask questions about the following:

  • Number of staff members supervising activities
  • Emergency response and safety training received by staff
  • Availability of first aid equipment at site
  • Pre-activity instruction to participants

Experts recommend that facilities have at least one staff member supervising activities for every five participants.

Holding extreme sports facilities liable for injuries

Government inspections and other oversight of facilities offering activities with a high risk of serious injury or death would help to establish a safety standard by which they operate. Until laws and regulations are enacted and enforced, participants suffering injuries can rely upon principles of negligence and the Occupiers’ Liability Act to hold facilities liable for the payment of adequate compensation.

Compassionate personal injury lawyers when injuries occur

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have years of experience handling all types of personal injury claims and obtaining the compensation their clients need to get on with their lives. Contact our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now about your claim. Consultations are free, and we have offices located throughout Ontario.

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