Football & the Law


It is finally football season with Friday Night Lights already in full swing in most areas. There is also Fall baseball and soccer to consider. What happens if your child is injured while playing a school sport? Where does the liability lie?

There are inherent risks while playing any sport. Thus, because general injuries can and often do occur, the laws have changed to make it more difficult for an individual to bring a personal injury suit to cover damages from these injuries. 

School coaches are afforded certain immunities as are all staff members of a school. However, if an accident happens and the coach involves himself willingly or intentionally, then that coach would not be protected by the immunity clause that is a part of their teaching contract.

With club teams, which are not affiliated with a school, the rules change a bit. These days, clubs require their coaches to attend sensitivity training as well as concussion protocol training. In addition, there is plenty of insurance coverage for these club teams.

But, if policies are violated, and a player’s safety is put at risk, both the coach and the club could be held liable for any injuries.

Premises liability may also come into play. If there is knowledge by the municipality that owns the field that said field has certain faults, which may put players in danger, and if these faults are not corrected and the players’ safety is at risk, then a liability lawsuit may be filed.

Other factors that make it difficult to recover legal damages for a school sport injury include:

  • Immunity, which is discussed above, although private schools are a bit different.
  • Release clauses, which an athlete signs stating that the athlete assumes all risks associated with playing a particular sport.

If is not impossible to successfully recover for personal injuries that occur during school organized sports as long as you can prove that the school was in some way negligent.

If you have legal questions, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.

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