Preparing A Legal Game Plan For Football Coaches
© April, 2006
by Richard P. Borkowski, Ed. D., C.M.A.A. Sport And Recreation Safety Consultant, Narberth, Pa.
TODAY’S LITIGIOUS SOCIETY sometimes makes it seem a law degree will soon be a required part of a coach’s education. It’s not that bad, but it’s a good idea to understand what society perceives to be a coach’s legal duties.
Coaches are held to what is called a “standard of care” that will lower the chance of injuries to athletes. Please note that I didn’t write eliminate injuries or ensure the safety of athletes. That’s an impossibility.
Also remember coaches are held to a standard of care, not a standard of practice. A standard of care is eliminating the deep knee-bend duck walk as part of practice. A standard of practice is doing the duck walk because “my coach made us do it.”
Things to Remember
Coaches are also held to something called the “reasonable prudent profession standard.” This is acting in the manner that those in your profession would act under similar circumstances. It is reasonable, for example, that a football coach examines a player’s helmet. Not checking a helmet is unreasonable.
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