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Who is liable when your child is injured while playing a sport?

Youth sports are a popular summertime activity for many Tennesse children. Playing sports has a variety of benefits, but can also come with the risk of injury.

Who is liable when your child suffers an injury while playing youth sports?

Assumption of risk

When you registered your child for a youth sports league, you were probably asked to sign something acknowledging that the league is not responsible for injuries caused by the obvious risks of playing a sport. The normal activities of many sports can cause serious injuries, such as concussions. However, the league will usually not be at fault, unless the negligence of a coach, official, equipment manufacturer or some other party caused the injury.

Negligence

Sports leagues must take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of players. This includes actions such as requiring players to use safety gear, such as batting helmets and providing proper supervision while athletes are competing. If your child’s injury resulted from a failure to take reasonable actions to prevent injury, the negligent party may be liable for resulting damages.

Safe Stars initiative

The Tennessee Safe Stars initiative rates sports leagues according to their compliance with safety standards.  Safety standards include actions such as background checks for coaches, concussion management training, severe weather policies, injury prevention training, equipment safety checks, on-site medical staff and more.

All physical activities, including playing sports, have inherent injury risks. However, sports leagues must maintain safety standards that protect players from serious injuries. Leagues that fail to live up to those standards may be liable for injuries that result from that failure.