Though the risk of injury is inherent in many high school and youth sports, the leagues, coaches and/or schools still have a duty to minimize the players' risk of injury. Some of the things that minimize risks are having proper coaching and supervision, ensuring the equipment is safe, and inspecting the facility/field for dangerous conditions.
This article will address facility/location safety. A site-safety inspection should be implemented by all sports organizations to identify hazards and minimize the risk of exposure to athletes.
The obvious place that leagues, coaches and/or schools have to make sure is safe is the field or court. The coaches need to check the field or court for dangerous objects prior to practices or games.
For example, a soccer coach must check the field before a game or practice to make sure there are no dangerous objects that can hurt the players. Fall soccer is typically played outside. The same field used for soccer may be a field used for a high school homecoming party the night before. Therefore, dangerous objects may be on the field, such as glass or sharp objects.
Other hazards on the field may also include holes. If a player steps into a hole while running, he may sprain or fracture his ankle. Therefore, it is important for the coach to inspect the field prior to the players going on it.
High school sports fields and courts have bleachers for spectators to sit on during games. The bleachers may also be used during practice. Many coaches may ask their athletes to perform speed drills on the bleachers by going up and down the bleachers. Therefore, it is important for coaches to make sure that the bleachers are free of debris and in good repair. Further, if the bleachers are mobile, coaches should make sure that they are properly secured so players do not fall while running on them.
Another place coaches should check is the locker rooms. Players use locker rooms before and after practice. It is important that the locker rooms are safe in order to prevent athletes from sustaining injuries. The floor of the locker rooms should be cleared of any debris or standing water.
If the facility is not inspected on a periodic basis, players will inevitably get injured. As a result, schools, coaches and/or leagues may be held responsible for the sports-related injuries sustained by the players.
Daniel J. O'Brien, Esquire, a life-long athlete, has helped numerous athletes in PA and NJ after their sports accidents/injuries that could have been prevented. FREE consultations. 877.944.8396