Archive for the ‘Coaching’ Category

Applying Title IX to Municipal Field Usage

Do girls have equal rights to field usage?

A client in Oregon contacted me about a problem the local softball league is having as regards access to fields. I doubt this problem is unique, and perhaps other organizations can benefit  from this information.

The local rec baseball and softball teams share a municipal ballpark, which includes multiple practice fields. Apparently, the girls are not given equitable field time except in the fall, when the boys don’t play.The softball teams have offered to help maintain and build fields to pull their weight, to no avail.

The coach asks if Title IX or another statute applies in this case since the fields are part of a public facility.

According to our research, Title IX does not apply to municipalities unless the public facilities were being used for school-based programs. However, the equal protection clause provides an avenue to request injunctive relief if that becomes necessary. However, that can certainly be avoided if the municipality would simply allot field space based on the percentage of boys teams vs. girls teams. For example, if there are 75 boys teams and 25 girls teams, the girls teams should have access to 25% of the prime practice opportunities.

Understanding how the law works can help girls gain access to fields and can help the municipality stay out of trouble.

If you have a question or concern about your sports organization, don’t hesitate to contact me.

$4.4 Million settlement for Student Head Injury

Were warning signs ignored?

On September 14, 2007, while playing in a high school football game, Scott Eveland, suffered a serious head injury that caused bleeding inside his brain.  He now has to communicate using a keyboard and is confined to a wheelchair due to extensive brain damage.

It was alleged that head coach Chris Hauser ignored warning signs.  Scott had complained to the assistant trainer the week before the game that he was having headaches and had already missed some practices.  On the day of the injury, Scott requested to sit out the first quarter due to a headache, but the head coach denied his request.  A settlement of $4.4 million has now been agreed upon by the area school district in San Diego.

Jury verdicts of this nature will pressure General Liability carriers to increase rates or restrict coverage.  There has been an outcry from high school coaches and former players who are concerned that jury verdicts will end contact sports such as tackle football.  In my opinion, this risk will be better managed in the future by the use of better waiver/release agreements, education on concussions and warning signs, baseline cognitive testing and better helmet technology.

A Reality Check for Youth Sports Administrators

Learn from the Paterno, Spanier, Curley and McQuery mistakes

This blog post isn’t specifically about the Penn State case and who was or wasn’t fired. Rather it’s a reality check for all involved with youth: no one is invincible. Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Mike McQuery did not commit the physical crimes against children that Jerry Sandusky did.  However, they were responsible and liable for their own actions when there is even a hint that someone is abusing a child.

The Penn State case is making national headlines because of its legendary coach and its football program, but it’s important to understand that such behavior occurs frequently in youth sports.  Most readers of this blog are involved in teams/leagues/youth programs in sYouth sports risk managementome capacity or another. Are you a coach, athletic director, team mom or a parent on the sidelines?  Whatever your position, today is the day to step back and realize where exactly you fit into the lives of the kids participating in your youth sports organization.  You are there to protect them at all costs.

Our previous blog post, Child Predators in Youth Sports, is a must read for anyone who is involved with children. It includes a link to a Sports Illustrated article written with the help of actual predators in youth programs detailing how they got away with their crimes. Did you know that, according to the article, studies have found that the average molester victimizes about 120 children before he is caught? That’s extremely disturbing! The blog post also offers useful risk management guidelines that your organization can implement today. And share this post with others so that we all can make a difference.

Follow this link for more articles on preventing sexual abuse and molestation.

Insurance Discounts for NYSCA Coach Training

Team/Leagues can benefit from coach training and certification

Teams and leagues that train or certify their coaches through National Alliance for Youth Sports Coaches Association (NYSCA) qualify for a discounted team/league insurance program with specially negotiated coverage enhancements. The NYSCA Insurance Plan through Sadler Sports Insurance offers high limit, high quality Accident and General Liability coverages at discounted prices. The insurance carriers recognize that trained or certified coaches are less likely to have injuries or lawsuits and are willing to offer lower prices and coverage enhancements.

Qualifying sports include non-scholastic, youth (ages 18 and under) T-ball, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, golf, swimming, tennis, track & field, volleyball, flag/touch football, cheer, ice hockey, roller hockey, ice ringette, lacrosse, and wrestling.

Some of the special coverage enhancements include $100,000 Excess Accident Limit, $2 million General Liability Limit, No General Aggregate Limit, Sex Abuse/Molestation Coverage, Non-Owned and Hired Auto Liability, and no-Volunteer v. Volunteer exclusion.

Optional coverages are available for Directors & Officers Liability, Crime, and Equipment.

What if your coaches are not currently trained by NYSCA? Getting set up for training is easier than you may think. The NYSCA clinics, available on-site or online, are not only going to take some of the work off of the organization that hosts the training, but also provide tried and true risk management techniques that will protect the organization, the coaches and the kids.  My suggestion would be to work this into your current coaches’ training, whether all at once or one sport at a time.

Visit the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) website to learn more. Click here to find detailed coverage descriptions, as well as the enrollment form to get your organization’s protection plan started.

Football Player’s Heat-Related Death

Could it have been prevented?

While the  death of 15-year-old, Max Gilpin in August 2008 was tragic, it could have likely been prevented. This particular case left many experts in the sports arena scratching their heads.  The experts at “From The Gym To The Jury” commented on this case in their latest edition stating, “In 19 years of reporting court cases involving injury or death at early season practices, this may be the first to result in criminal charges.” The coach, David Stinson, pleaded not guilty in the player’s death.

The most important thing to focus on here is PREVENTION. If you are remotely involved with a youth sports league, each of the coaches, assistant coaches, and volunteer staff need to be made aware of the information that we provide in Heat Illness: Avoidance and Prevention. By following these guidelines, you are helping to protect your athletes from heat illness and your coaches, assistant coaches, volunteers and league officials from being the target in a big-dollar lawsuit.

Lessons from Losing

 What young athletes can learn from losing

When your kids are on the field are you are stoked because your team is out to win?  Is winning always the best thing? The New York Times recently posted a great article,  Lessons Learned In Losing. The article does a great job of making us realize that it isn’t all about winning and that there are even health benefits in losing.

Take a moment today to comment and let us know what lessons you learned from losing.

Sports Officials Under Assault

Attacks on sports officials continue, despite efforts of national governing bodies and sports organizations to emphasize sportsmanship. Today, not only are officials at risk, but coaches have faced similar verbal and physical attacks by overzealous parents and players. The National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) published a Special Report: Officials Under Assault giving examples from all levels of sports and the steps that are being taken to prevent attacks on sports officials. If they do occur the assailant could be banned from sports, fined or even jailed.