The Coach and the Safety of Athletes: Ethical and Legal Issues

Ethics and Coaching (Robert L. Simon ed., Westview 2012), Forthcoming

Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 12-13

31 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2012

See all articles by Matt Mitten

Matt Mitten

Marquette University - Law School

Date Written: June 1, 2012

Abstract

Regardless of the level of athletic competition, a coach is not an insurer of an athlete’s safety and is not necessarily liable for injuries that occur while coaching a sport. Although coaches generally are not liable for athlete injuries that are ‘‘part of the game,’’ there is potential legal liability if a coach’s action or inaction increases the inherent risks of injury in a sport. To recover damages for an injury, an athlete is required to prove tortious (i.e., wrongful) action or inaction by a coach caused his injury. This chapter provides an overview of the developing law regarding the nature and scope of a coach’s duty to protect the health and safety of athletes participating in youth and high school sports (who generally are minors entrusted to coaches’ custodial care) or college sports (who generally are adults that do not have a custodial relationship with their coaches) and illustrates a coach’s ethical obligation to do so. It also notes that state statutes and judicial decisions may immunize coaches at public educational institutions from liability for negligence that causes injury to athletes, and that pre-injury releases and waivers may protect both private and public school coaches from liability for their negligence.

Keywords: sports, coaching, injuries, liability, duty to protect, youth sports, high school sports, college sports, reasonable care

Suggested Citation

Mitten, Matthew J., The Coach and the Safety of Athletes: Ethical and Legal Issues (June 1, 2012). Ethics and Coaching (Robert L. Simon ed., Westview 2012), Forthcoming; Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 12-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2088091

Matthew J. Mitten (Contact Author)

Marquette University - Law School ( email )

Eckstein Hall
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
381
rank
73,533
Abstract Views
1,997
PlumX Metrics