Nine Legal Duties of a Coach

Immediate cause. The direct cause test must be established in all cases involving negligence. It is not enough to accuse a coach of negligence in the performance of his duties. It must also be proven that this negligence was the real reason for the accident. * In youth sports, equipment is often provided by the league. This equipment is often recycled year after year and is not in the best conditions. The trainer must distinguish between defective and old equipment. Ultimately, it is the coach who must confront league officials with faulty equipment and demand a replacement. Several sports techniques, such as harpoon tackling in football and face-off in baseball, have been associated with a high risk of injury and considered unsafe to use. Court decisions against coaches have confirmed that such techniques should never be taught or even allowed to young athletes. Coaches have a duty to properly teach technical and tactical skills in accordance with recognized sport procedures, thereby reducing the risk of injury. In addition, coaches are naturally responsible for teaching the right technique within the sport to best promote the development of athletes.

These tasks include the obligation to learn safe and correct procedures by reading sports safety documentation, researching safety videos and correct mechanical instructions, and/or visiting safety and training clinics. A coach who fails to discharge this responsibility (whether by acting irresponsibly or irresponsibly) can be prosecuted and found guilty of negligence. Several defenses against negligence claims can be used in a lawsuit. The best defense, of course, is to provide the extra care that prevents an accident in the first place. Sometimes, however, despite all the efforts to be made, an accident occurs. In such cases, use the following defensive measures: Another situation that can expose an athlete to significant physical risk is a previous health problem or injury. Most programs at the college and above level require a pre-season physical exam — most youth leagues don`t. The coach`s responsibility is also tested in the verdict so that a player returns after an injury.

It should be noted that this decision is not only that of the coach – most often it is not in the hands of the coach. It is shared with parents, the sports coach and the doctor. Inadequate supervision. The issue of supervision involves both qualitative and quantitative evaluation. Coaches must know the specific activity they are supervising and must then take charge of supervision during the activity. There are two types of supervision – general and specific. General supervision means that the trainer must be in the area and supervise the entire activity. Specific supervision means that the coach must be at a specific location of an activity such as the high bar in gymnastics. Under no circumstances should athletes be allowed to play or train without proper supervision (or a signed physical card).

Poor selection of activities. A coach should choose activities that are appropriate for the student`s age, size, and abilities. Failure to do so can result in serious injury and constitutes negligence. Failure to warn. It is essential to warn players of their injury potential. However, coaches often ignore this warning as it will have a negative impact on players, especially in contact sports. Nevertheless, parents and players should be informed of the risks involved and given written materials describing how injuries can be prevented. In the event of an injury, the trainer should only provide first aid for which he or she is qualified and transfer the risk associated with emergencies to more qualified individuals.

Most leagues have an injury report form. Make sure this is completed and returned to the league office as soon as possible. Anyone in a position that may affect the welfare of children, including a youth coach, has a legitimate (and legal) responsibility to provide a safe experience when an injury occurs in athletics, the plaintiff (aggrieved party) may argue that the injury was caused or aggravated by the coach`s negligence. Negligence in this case can be either an omission or a commission of the law. The crucial question to be answered is whether the coach, with reasonable prudence and foresight, should have foreseen the danger or injury of a student in the circumstances. If the answer is yes, the coach was negligent in the performance of his duties. Baseball bats with loose handles, improperly mounted masks on the helmet (football, hockey, softball, etc.) and loose screws on gym equipment are examples of pending accidents. As a coach, you are responsible for providing athletes with the best equipment to provide the highest level of safety. The courts have ruled that motor coaches must be careful when selecting, distributing, using and repairing equipment.

In case of misuse of the equipment, the coach may be held responsible for injuries resulting from athletes. Lawsuits are now a way of life and no one, not even coaches, is exempt. The purpose here is to let you know some basic information about legal liability in coaching and give some suggestions that will help you avoid legal problems. The advice given here is not a substitute for extensive legal research on the laws and regulations in your area. Poor judgment. The scope of a coach`s judgment is quite broad and can include a variety of situations where the coach does not use common sense and prudent judgment and a student is harmed as a result. Examples: As a coach, you are responsible for regularly and thoroughly checking the safety of sports equipment, playground and all warm-up, training and locker room areas. This includes ensuring that there are no hazards such as holes, broken glass, exposed sprinkler heads or sharp corners.

If there are hazards that you cannot remedy, you must (1) notify the facility manager and (2) warn your athletes of the dangerous conditions and keep the activity away from danger. The responsibility here is to avoid putting young people at risk by comparing them to others who are much bigger, stronger or physically qualified. This is especially important in contact sports (football, wrestling, etc.), but is also relevant in sports where balls are thrown or hit. Consider the effects of a one-on-one duel exercise in football with the ball carrier at 110 lbs and the tackle over 200 – this is the basis of negligence on the part of the coach.