Tragic Sword-Fighting Class Leaves Student Blind and Paralyzed

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After decades of swashbucklers and Hobbit movies, sword-fighting has enjoyed a massive resurgence. The sport remains dangerous, though, as a recent tragedy illustrates. An instructor, during a classroom demonstration, accidentally stabbed his student. The injury left the student blind, paralyzed and brain-damaged. Now the incident is the focus of a $9 million lawsuit.

“Instructor James Romandelle Brown was trying to demonstrate a move last year using new student Jeremiah DuPrau when his sword went through DuPrau’s right eye socket and into his brain and damaged muscles, nerves and tendons,” ABC writes.

The lawsuit centers on the claim that DuPrau was not warned that he needed to wear protective headgear during the fateful demonstration.

“He’s unable to drive, unable to ride his bike, unable to hike,” DuPrau’s attorney, John Coletti told reporters. “He actually had to give his dog away because he was unable to take care of it.”

Attorneys for the school, Swordguild Portland, have not commented publicly on the case.

DuPrau’s injuries are mounting. As a result of the injury, he also suffered a stroke. His left side in now partially paralyzed. He has difficulty speaking, too.

The sword-fighting class where DuPrau (below right) was injured was held at the Milwaukie-Portland Lodge No. 142. DuPrau’s case claims that the lodge is responsible, too, becasue it helped Brown “to hold classes for novice students who were in turn exposed to unreasonable risks of harm.”

The case, no matter how it is adjudicated, will likely hit Swordguild hard. The school describes itself as a “school for the serious study of Historical European Martial Arts.”

“Want to learn how to sword fight? Not like in the Olympics; you want to get Medieval with it? Then you have found the right place,” its website says.

The video below was posted on the school’s Facebook page. It shows the style they teach, but not the incident itself.