Man runs into wall, breaks back, sues museum

An Australian man is suing a museum after his attempt to outrun a virtual image of Olympic gold medallist Cathy Freeman went terribly wrong.

Dean Smith broke his back after slamming into a wall at the end of the interactive race at Melbourne's Science Works museum last June.

He said he thought it would be "a bit of fun", before crashing head-first into the wall and fracturing his neck, skull and spine.

"When we approached it you could hear a message saying can you beat Cathy Freeman, and I thought, 'Oh yes, I'm going to give that a go'," he said.

"I got to the end and all of a sudden I went to slow down, I couldn't slow down quick enough."

The exhibition encourages people to sprint down a dual-lane 10m track, racing against a virtual image of Freeman.

Mr Smith was almost paralysed as a result of the crash and says he can't work anymore or even play with his children the same as he used to.

He said he suffered a stroke and has been left in constant pain.

He's now suing Museums Victoria over the attraction and lodged a writ in the Victorian supreme court last week.

Mr Smith claims the museum failed in its duty of care by not providing sufficient lighting and enough room for runners to stop safely.

A spokesperson for the museum was unable to comment due to the pending legal proceedings.