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Annual ski hill fundraiser for blind sends 5 to hospital

Maryland residents are like any others after a long winter. Even though there hasn't been that much snow, certain spring fever traditions don't get set aside easily. One of them might be considered to be the annual Cardboard Box Derby held in the hills of western Maryland.

With all the fun that usually accompanies this fundraising effort for blind skiers, the last thing organizers and participants likely had in mind was the accident this year that sent at least five people to the hospital. Some news reports put the number at seven. The extent of the personal injuries they suffered isn't clear.

The unfortunate incident happened last weekend at the Wisp ski resort in Garrett County. According to a resort spokesperson, 14 people were riding down a snow-tubing run on a large ship-like cardboard sled. Others had made it down the snow-machine-made ride without incident, but when this vessel came along, officials say it veered out of the tubing lanes and smashed into a set of metal supports.

The resort confirms that three adults and two children were taken by ambulance to a hospital in nearby Morgantown, West Virginia. But there was no information Monday about the types of injuries they suffered or what condition they are in.

The annual event is sponsored by the Deep Creek Lake Lions Club. The purpose is to raise money for the group's blind skier program.

In any accident, but especially one driven by such good intention, the thoughts of victims and their families may be far from any notion of recovering due compensation. But it is important to note that it is a responsibility of event planners and property owners to make sure that such activities are conducted safely.

Downhill skiing and snowboarding carry known risks that people choose to face. But few can ever anticipate what might happen when a makeshift cardboard sled begins hurtling down a slippery slope. When someone does get hurt, they deserve to have the benefit of an experienced attorney to ensure their rights are protected.

Source: FredrickNewsPost.com, "Maryland Today: 5 hurt in ski hill accident in western Md.," AP, March, 19, 2012

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