Youth sports don’t just provide an opportunity for fun and camaraderie. They have become highly competitive environments where players and coaches create intense pressure that often leads to injuries. While many young athletes push themselves to be the best, it’s increasingly common for coaches to take the game so seriously that they put the children’s health and lives at risk.
Denying young players water during practice or forcing a student to continue to play after a concussion or serious injury — these behaviors are not only negligent but dangerous. More than 300 young people died as a result of sport-related injuries between 2008 and 2015, according to the National Athletic Trainers Association.
If your child athlete has suffered a medical condition or sports-related injury because of a coach’s negligent behavior, you may be able to recover financial compensation. When a coach fails in their duty to care for the players they supervise, they should be held accountable. By holding them responsible, families of student-athletes ensure that other children are protected. These families can also recover the compensation they deserve, instead of being crushed by the weight of expensive medical bills.
For more information on how an experienced Lexington sports injury attorney can help you and your family, contact the legal team at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP. Our Lexington sports injury attorneys understand the heartache your family is feeling. You may feel betrayed by the person you trusted to mentor your child. That coach’s negligence led to a serious, even catastrophic injury. At Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP we want you to know your legal options. To schedule a no-obligation consultation, call us at (859) 550-2900 today.
What are Sports-Related Injuries?
Sports-related injuries in children or youth athletes are typically caused by intense and excessive activity. Many sports-related injuries result from overuse or improper use of certain groups of muscles, leading to strains, sprains, and problems with ligaments and tendons.
Sports-related injuries or medical conditions may also be the result of overworking a young person without providing them proper hydration or rest time, especially in extreme weather conditions such as heat or humidity.
The Most Common Sports-Related Injuries
Coaches are responsible for supervising athletes, giving them safe training conditions, and properly instructing them on their form. Without a coach that is looking out for the safety of their athletes, students can suffer serious consequences. While the most common sports injuries are typically strains and sprains, a coach who is negligent when it comes to managing the safety of their athletes may be responsible for causing much more traumatic injuries.
These injuries can jeopardize an athlete’s health for the rest of the season, the rest of the school year, or even the rest of their life. About 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among children are the result of recreational sports.
Other common sports-related injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Stress fractures
- Dislocated joints
- Tendon injuries
- Knee injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Ankle injuries
- Elbow injuries
- Heart-related conditions
- Heat-related illnesses
Sports that Lead to Serious Student Injuries
It should come as no surprise that full-contact sports cause the highest number of injuries. The impact of sudden, full-speed collisions can result in serious injuries, even with the proper safety equipment.
However, most sports come with certain safety risks that impact the health of young participants. Intense repetitive motions, the impact of hitting a floor over and over again, practice in extreme weather conditions: these are all factors that contribute to student-athlete injuries. The sports responsible for causing the most sports-related injuries for students include:
- Football – Some of the most common injuries in football include head and neck injuries, fractured bones, dislocations and knee injuries, traumatic brain injury, and concussions.
- Hockey – Hockey players are at risk for head and dental injuries, dislocations, broken bones, especially collar bones, and concussions.
- Basketball – Dislocations and knee injuries are prominent in basketball as well as facial and hand/wrist injuries.
- Baseball and Softball – Baseball and softball players tend to suffer the most from soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains, ligament and tendon damage, as well as shoulder injuries and elbow injuries.
- Soccer – Players commonly complain of knee and ankle injuries, muscle sprains and strains, concussions, and broken bones, especially in the feet.
- Cheerleading – Cheerleaders are susceptible to sprains and strains, dislocations of the shoulder and knee, broken bones, especially stress fractures, and concussions.
- Gymnastics – Gymnasts are at risk for muscle sprains and strains, broken bones like stress fractures and broken wrists, back injuries, knee injuries, shoulder injuries, tendon tears, and cartilage damage.
Determining Negligence When It Comes to Sports Injuries
It’s not always easy to find the line between an accident and a preventable injury. There will always inherent risks of participating in sports, especially full-contact and high-impact sports. Still, all coaches of young athletes have a duty to protect the health, safety, and well-being of the athletes that they train and supervise. Increasingly, the pressure once felt only by collegiate and professional athletes is now placed on younger student-athletes. Competitive coaches with a “win-at-all-costs” attitude are found at all levels of play, and this drive for success can put young athletes at risk.
Holding a negligent coach accountable for their actions is no small feat. Negligence, when used for legal purposes, is a term that outlines a specific set of behaviors. To determine if someone is negligent, a court would typically consider whether a reasonable person of the same education and experience would have made another choice under the same circumstances. When it comes to determining if a coach was negligent in the course of their official duties, an individual must prove the following conditions were present:
- The coach owed the athlete a duty of care
- The coach breached that duty of care and an injury was the result
- The breach of care resulted in harm to the student
A coach fails to protect a student-athlete when they send that player back into a game, even after they were hit in the head and need immediate medical attention. In some instances, players have suffered from severe dehydration or heat-exhaustion because a coach refuses to let them take a break or drink appropriate amounts of water while practicing.
Coaches who ignore the repeated cries of pain from an athlete often see that same student suffer from a major injury, such as a broken bone or a dislocated knee. While every case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits, some of the common behaviors and actions that can result in a coach being liable for sports-related injury include:
- Allowing an injured player to continue playing
- Allowing an unfit player to continue playing without proper medical evaluation
- Allowing unauthorized individuals to take on coaching duties
- Failing to provide proper training
- Failing to provide proper supervision
- Failing to enforce safety equipment rules
- Moving an injured athlete without due caution
It is also important to note that some young athletes get wrapped up in the competitive, “must-win” culture. They might feel such intense pressure to continue playing from coaches or peers that they will put their own safety at risk to prevent disappointing their fellow players or mentors.
The National Athletic Trainers Association has found that at least 54 percent of student-athletes say they have played a sport while injured. Young people are still learning and growing — they don’t always recognize the limits of their own bodies. It is the responsibility of experienced coaches to recognize the signs and symptoms of sport-related injuries and step in when appropriate to prevent that young player from further injury. A player could be hit in the head and not even remember losing consciousness. That young person might say they feel fine and want to continue playing. But it is the responsibility of the adult on the field — the coach — to prevent that player from injuring themselves. It’s part of that coach’s job to say, “No, it is not safe for you to continue.”
Contact an Experienced Lexington Sports Injury Attorney Today
Your job as a parent is to protect your child. At Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP our job is to help protect you and your family. The negligent actions of a sports coach should never be ignored. The pattern of behavior that injured your athlete can continue and impact others. You may also face mountains of medical bills and the cost of future treatments that you simply shouldn’t have to pay for without help.
At Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP we want to get justice for your child and your family. Negligent coaches must be held accountable for their actions, and the legal team at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP can help you do that. For more information on your potential case and how to get compensation for your child’s injury, call us at (859) 550-2900. The consultation is free.