Injuries Sustained During Organized Sports
It is amazing to see how much the safety equipment used in organized sports — at all levels — has developed and evolved over the decades. When football was first organized as a professional sport in the United States, the helmets used were little more than leather hats. Now they are highly-developed marvels of modern engineering. Unfortunately, injuries are still common despite the use of advanced safety equipment. What’s more, players often face a variety of legal barriers when attempting to recover compensation for on-the-field injuries. Nevertheless, in some situations, organizers and venue owners may be liable for avoidable injuries.
Participants in organized sports face a number of obstacles when seeking civil compensation:
- Because the risks of participating in contact sports are open and obvious, players are often held to have assumed the risk by agreeing to participate. This can hold true for both amateur and professional sports.
- While we often do not think of them as such, professional athletes are legally employees, usually of the team for which they play, and are therefore subject to state workers’ compensation laws that preclude personal injury suits against employers.
In the case of amateur players such as high school and college athletes, organizers are still liable for acts of negligence. This can include improper facilities maintenance, pushing athletes too hard or providing negligent care after an injury or illness occurs. This was the case in 2012 for a Florida teen who died of heatstroke after being pushed too hard during drills.
While sports injuries are in many cases considered an inherent risk of the game, there are circumstances under which they could have been avoided had organizers, coaches or other officials acted with reasonable prudence. In these cases, a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney may be able to help injured athletes recover the compensation they need to be made whole.