Yes, you read that correctly: Inflatable. Sumo. Suits. Because nothing says “tolerance for another culture’s art” than blow-up fat suits.

But that’s a thought for another day. What we’re looking at today is the growing number of lawsuits surrounding this product, which claim that participating in mock sumo wrestling while in the suits could lead to brain damage.

The most recent case concerns a young woman in Florida who, during a school “Spirit Day” was fitted incorrectly into a sumo suit. She was knocked down repeatedly, the lawsuit says, and hit her head. The young girl’s mother claims that her daughter had a headache and blurry vision, and said she didn’t want to participate anymore. She also claims that her daughter was sent back to class after being knocked to the ground a third time. Now, her daughter is displaying child-like behavior and has difficulties communicating.

Who’s to blame?

In a case like this, there could be multiple negligent parties:

  • The school. It should go without saying that any activity grounded in pushing another person is an extremely poor choice. The students involved in the activity are not professional sumo wrestlers, and there’s currently no information available about what their backgrounds in athletics were.
  • The party planning outfit. In this case, it’s a company called Mega Party Events. They claim they’ve never had this kind of problem before, but they’re the ones who dressed the young woman for fake combat.
  • The manufacturer. If the party planners followed the instructions to a tee and the young girl’s head still wasn’t protected well enough, it could be a design flaw in their product, or a faulty material.

This isn’t the first time these suits have led to tragedy. In 2007, a woman was awarded $2 million for a traumatic brain injury that occurred after using one of these inflatable sumo suits. So there is a precedent set for this particular case.

The most tragic part of all of this, really, is how this young woman’s future will be affected. A TBI can have life-long repercussions on a person’s health and personality. The poor girl could be facing years of rehabilitation, and her parents may have to take care of her for the rest of their lives.

Our hearts go out to this family, and we hope that the responsible parties are held accountable for the loss of this woman’s future.