Presentation on theme: "ATHLETIC LIABILTY PREVENTION"— Presentation transcript:
1 ATHLETIC LIABILTY PREVENTION Tools to Protect Students, Your District, Your Program and Your CareerRaymond A. RobertsLoss Control ConsultantWashington Schools Risk Management Pool
2 OBJECTIVES Review Legal and Social Aspects of Athletics Overview of Litigation and Claims ProcessDefensive Coaching and TeachingCoordination with other DepartmentsEquipment and Facilities Exposures.
3 Changes in Society Population Changes Gender Issues in Athletics Budget StressesLitigation and Claims in Athletics
4 The Five “Time Bombs” Equipment & Facilities Failure to Act on Medical EmergenciesSupervision & InstructionFailure to DocumentFailure to Report Criminal Sexual Conduct
5 Liability, Negligence & Insurance Negligence is “The failure to use such care as a reasonably prudent and careful person would use; the doing of some act which a person of ordinary prudence would not have done under similar circumstances…”Liability is established through Intentional or Negligent acts that damage a third party by commission or omission.No insurance coverage for intentional or criminal acts!
6 Four Elements of Negligence Duty OwedDuty BreachedProximate CauseDamages Resulting
7 Duties Owed to Student Athletes Proper Supervision & InstructionProvide Safe Equipment & FacilitiesWarn ParticipantsMaintain All Records
8 Duties Owed to Student Athletes (Continued) Evaluate Fitness of ParticipantsTransport Athletes SafelyMatch ParticipantsForesee DangerProvide for Emergency Health Care
9 Court Case Kirk v. Washington State University Kirk was injured during a cheerleading practice, the squad was practicing shoulder stands and Kirk fell to the Astroturf. She landed with her full weight on her left elbow, shattering three bones in the elbow and injured her ankle. The elbow injury was permanent.The jury found the defendants negligent for :Failure to provide adequate trainingFailure to provide adequate supervisionFailure to provide adequate coachingFailure to provide safety paddingFailure to provide a warning regarding the hardness of the surfaceFailure to provide adequate literature on safe methodsCOMPETITVE CHEERING / SPIRIT IS BECOMING FOCUS OF PLAINTIFF ATTORNIES AND THERE ARE NEW RULES-CHECK WIAA AND OTHERS, ADD TO
10 Claims and Litigation Process Report all injuries to AD or building administratorDesignate parent contact personMust cooperate with investigation and defense attorney.DepositionsWitness testimony at trialMaintain confidentiality-Loose Lips Sink Ships
11 Insurance Coverage Course and Scope of Duties. Volunteers must be under supervision of an employee.The District is covered as an entity.Insurance can only apply to negligent acts.If your action is determined to be criminal, willful and / or intentional, you will not be coveredOmission and commission issuesEME coverageTHIS criminal issues includes failure to report suspected sexual abuse within 48 hours.
12 Duty to Provide Safe Equipment & Facilities The Recreational Land Use StatuteDiscover dangerous conditions and make repairs.Document Your Requests for Repairs
14 Facilities Recommendations Regular Documented Inspections.Prompt Repair of Hazardous Conditions.Keep records.Formal Reporting and Repairing Procedures.2 instances of spikes in field- football and long jump
15 Facilities Recommendations (continued) Coordination between Athletic Department and Maintenance DepartmentPost proper signs and warning.Do not give keys to students!Never allow unsupervised use of facilities
16 Emergency Medical Assistance…. Do You Have a Plan? When in doubt, call 911Current training in first aid/CPRAEDsAdequate first aid supplies.Report injuries.Written Medical clearance prior to return.DO NOT have another student transport the injured athlete.Eme coverage
17 Duty to Supervise Common Problem Areas: If you can’t see them, you’re not supervising them !Common Problem Areas:Multiple activities at the same timeMultiple skill levelLocker roomsCANNOT BE IN 2 PLACES AT ONCE
18 Duty to Stop Harassment & Hazing School District policies on sexual & hazing.Hazing is illegal.Take a NO TOLERANCE stance!Document your actions!
19 SCENARIO I Supervision Junior High wrestling Coach Bob is getting complaints from a parent that his son should not have to wrestle with female wrestlers, even in practice. Since the parent has repeatedly come in during the practices and yells at his son, the female wrestlers and the coaches, Bob asks the parent to stop coming in.Angry parent comes in anyway. Not wanting to embarrass the wrestler, Coach Bob walks out of the gym with the parent, leaving the team with instructions to work on take downs.Coach Bob’s Assistant Coach is out ill today.The wrestlers do as instructed. Unfortunately, the aggressive 130 pound sophomore convinces a reluctant 240 pound senior to go for a round.Coach Bob comes back in to find the sophomore screaming and his leg weird angle.
20 SUPERVISION SCENARIO DISCUSSION QUESTIONS WHAT SHOULD COACH BOB DO NEXT? WHAT ARE COACH BOB’S LIABILITY EXPOSURES? WHAT ARE THE DISTRICT’S LIABILTY EXPOSURES?WHAT STEPS COULD BE TAKEN TO PREVENT THESE EVENTS?
21 Duty To Instruct Teach the rules of the game. Students must understand and appreciate risk.Demonstrate students understand proper techniques.Document training activities by time, place, subject and method.Enforce safety rules-No Exceptions.Ensure participants have adequate training and physical requirements for the sport.
22 Duty to Instruct (Continued) Conditioning, nutrition, exercises and drills to prepare the athlete for the vigor and dangers of the sport.Documented Progression of Skills PlanMechanisms of the head and the neck and techniques for injury prevention.Watch for and prohibit playing with injuries.Return from injury procedures / Medical Doctor’s Release
23 Fitness of Athletes & Insurance Court decisions held that coaches have the duty to acknowledge the athletes’:Physical FitnessMedical ConditionSkill LevelRequire evidence of medical insurance.Provide “no-fault” catastrophic coverage for interscholastic athletic activities.
24 Match Competitors Match player to player and player to activity Coaches must never scrimmage against playersFactors for matching competitors:Height and WeightAge and MaturitySkill and ExperienceMental StateInjury, Fatigue or Incapacity
25 Duty to Reasonably Foresee Must reasonably foresee potential danger.Control over-aggressive behavior.Plan ahead to provide proper equipment and facilities.
26 Duty to WarnDocumented warning to parents and athletes of the inherent risks unique to each individual sport.Obtain signed acknowledgement from parent and athlete.Warn when there are changes in equipment, rules, techniques and strategy.Document time, place, subject and method.FormsMeetingsTraining Plan
27 Document, Document, Document Recommended records to save:Health/Physical examsParental consent to playInjury and incident formsReturn-to play/Doctor’s clearanceWarnings of risk and signed receiptUse of alternative transportationFacility and equipment inspection/maintenanceWritten practice plansEligibility information
28 Defensive Recordkeeping for Injured Athletes Communicate with School Nurse regarding Individual Health PlansA minor can file a claim or suit up to age 21.Keep all records relating to an athlete who has suffered a significant injury.The district may send injury records to the insurance carrier for safekeeping.
29 Court Case Hobbs v. Kent School District During a baseball game, a 15-year old slid head-first into home plate sustaining a neck fracture, which resulted in quadriplegia. Plaintiff claimed defendant negligently failed to provide an ongoing safety program to teach safe sliding techniques and to warn of the dangers of head-first sliding. Settlement for $2 million
30 Court Case Ondras v. Snohomish School District A 14-year old student suffered quadriplegic injuries during a football tackling drill. The tackling drill positioned a tackler and a ball carrier 10 to 12 yards apart, run at full speed, straight ahead at each other. The plaintiff who was the carrier, had never been taught how to carry the ball. Both players were known by coaches as hard hitters. All players and the coaches watched in anticipation of the hit. Settlement for $6,250,000
31 SCENARIO II INSTRUCTION Coach Bob is now coaching football. Ben, a returning player, has not turned in his physical form or parent consent form. Bob lets Ben take part in conditioning sessions. He forgot to follow-up and allowed Ben to start contact practice.Sean, also a returning player, has aggression issues and is suspected of steroid use.The coaches encourage aggressive practices and hard hits. During practice Sean hits Ben hard with his head down, leaving Sean unconscious and Ben with probable head, rib and knee injuries.
32 SCENARIO II- INSTRUCTION (continued) 911 is called and both players are transported to the ER.Sean had modified his helmet padding. The coaches did not have a formal plan for inspection of helmets.Ben's father has lost his job and has no insurance.
33 Discussion Questions IS COACH BOB DOOMED? WHAT WENT WRONG? WHAT WENT RIGHT?
34 Equipment Recommendations Document your actionsProperly fit equipmentRoutine equipment inspection-watch for “customizingInstall & repair equipment with qualified personnel only.List & post the rules & warnings for equipment use.Retain all inspection & maintenance records..Include spring article and football maintenance articles
35 Equipment Recommendations (Continued) Use District Issued Equipment OnlyNo personal equipment unless there is a documented medical needClear warnings and consequences for misuse of and alteration of equipment.Never use illegal and/or improper equipment (e.g. corked bat).Destroy old equipment that is not to be reused (e.g. football helmets).
36 Transportation School buses are the safest mode of transportation. Vans must have a capacity of ten or under.“Parents will be responsible for transportation” in writing if no district transportation provided.Parent signature if athlete released to them rather than traveling back with team.Never transport students alone in your car!
37 Failure to ReportCertified and Classified Employees are Required to Report Criminal Sexual Conduct to Administrators.Administrators Have 48 Hours to Report to Law EnforcementFailure to Due So is a Separate Criminal Offense!See MANDATORY REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
38 SUMMARY Some injuries are preventable, others are not. less time, energy and resources are expended in prevention.If there is a serious incident, you will spend far more time with insurance adjusters and attorneys, in depositions and in court.Coaches are responsible for the supervision of the student athletes and the Volunteers.Think and act defensively…It’s Your Career!
39 Thank You for Your Participation! Raymond A. Roberts, ARM, SCLA, CPSI Washington Schools Risk Management Pool P.O. Box 88700, Tukwila, WA Phone:(206) or (206)