Former Duke tennis player reaches settlement over finger injury

Duke Photography

DURHAM -- A Duke tennis player who lost part of his finger during a 2014 match at San Diego State will receive $95,000 as part of a settlement against the California school.

While chasing after ball during a doubles match on March 13, 2014 at San Diego State, Cale Hammond reached out his left hand to brace against a collision with a chain-link fence. But, because of a deteriorated welding on the fence’s metal latch system, his left index finger was mangled and partially severed when it was caught in a gate latch.

Hammond sued San Diego State and the California State University system in May 2015. According to a report on sandiegoreader.com, which includes graphic photos of Hammond’s finger soon after the accident and after it had healed, a number of San Diego State coaches testified they were aware of welding issues on gates at the tennis courts.

Among the arguments the school’s attorneys presented was that Hammond was negligent in trying to chase down a ball that couldn’t have been returned.

Hammond returned to play for Duke one month after the injury, posting three doubles wins in ACC play in April 2014.

As a senior in 2015, he recorded a 4-2 record in singles play. This was after he’d been 13-5 as a sophomore prior to his injury and 13-5 as a junior the season he was injured.

Having posted a 37-19 doubles record his first three seasons, Hammond was 5-3 post-injury as a senior.

Hammond earned his Duke undergraduate degree in sociology and a Master’s degree from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. He lives in Los Angeles where he works as a program coordinator for the Tennis Channel.

Steve Wiseman: 919-419-6671, @stevewisemanNC