Paintball product crusader
Mark Contois has been a crusader for safety in the paintball industry, since his wife was killed while watching their ten-year old son's birthday paintball party at a supervised course. One of the contestants accidentally discharged the pressurized prepellant cylinder which struck Ms. Contois in the head: she never regained consciousness and died at the scene. The owner of the facility closed it down soon afterwards, even though he had done nothing wrong or dangerous. It turned out that a 15-year old had died from a similar injury a few months earlier.
Any game that involves a gas under pressure or high velocity projectiles has the potential for danger. Paintball presents an additional, avoidable danger, though, in that the valve and cylinder involved in the Contois fatality was defective in that it could detach from the gun on the pressurized side, and then be unwittingly discharged--like a rocket--by the user. Modifications that young paintballers read about on the internet could also increase the propensity for failure with these guns.
While improvements in valve design have since minimized the danger on new manufactures, the New York Times reported that ASTM International--a group that sets voluntary standards for various products--believes there are thousands of old and dangerous guns in the hands of consumers. The CPSC has documented at least 73 accidental gas-cartridge ejections and seven resulting injuries. The industry has discussed creating a system of disseminating paintball safety information since the 1990 severe facial injuries suffered by a California resident, however, to date no action has actually been taken. Ms. Contois' husband has been crusading to change that fact and recently filed suit to force the successor corporation to National Paintball Supply to fulfill the promises it made when it settled the civil action against it, arising out of Contois' death.