Sample AYF/AYC Sports Risk Management Awareness Program
Available exclusively for current clients of Sadler Sports and Recreation Insurance
(Note: be sure to customize for your program by filling in all blanks, choosing all options, deleting all references to “notes” and unselected “options”, and making all applicable selections for your program.)
Appoint Risk Management Officer (RMO) and Risk Management Committee
Risk Management Officer (RMO) is a formal position of our sports organization and the name and contact information of this position should be prominently displayed whenever officer names are listed.
Our RMO is responsible for implementing, monitoring, and taking corrective action on all issues related to our risk management program. Our RMO answers to our Risk Management Committee and board of directors but is empowered to make all day to day decisions on issues related to hazards including the modification, suspension, or halting of practice or play, if necessary.
Our staff including administrators, coaches, assistant coaches, managers, etc. are an extension of the RMO through their presence at every practice, game, and other events and should be in close contact with the RMO should any problems arise.
Any staff member who observes unsafe physical hazards, conditions, acts, or violation of the risk management guidelines, should take the following action:
- Take immediate corrective action, if feasible, and
- Immediately notify RMO in writing
Risk Management Content
Our RMO should self-train on the following materials available under the risk management section at www.sadlersports.com/ayf:
Appoint Risk Management Officer (RMO) To Set Up and Manage Plan
- Selection And Duties Of Sports Risk Management Officer (Coming Soon)
Choose High Quality Insurance
- 7 Critical Mistakes To Avoid When Buying Sports Insurance
- Horror Story Claims That Actually Happened To Sadler Clients
- AYF Minimum Coverage Checklist For Regional / National Championships
Contractual Transfer of Risk to Other Parties
- Are Waiver/Release Forms Worth Paper They Are Written On?
- Electronic Signatures Of Waiver/Release Forms
- Sample Waiver/Release Form – Minor
- Sample Waiver/Release Form – Adult
- Emergency Information / Medical Consent Form
- Image Release Form
- Before You Sign The Facility Lease Agreement
- Collecting Certificates Of Insurance From Vendors
- When Hosting Tournaments Transfer Risk To Visiting Teams
Avoid or Mitigate High Risk Activities That Are Not Essential To Your Mission
- 12- and 15- Passenger Vans
- Managing the Charter Bus Risk
- Swimming Outings
- High Risk Fundraising Activities/Devices (Coming Soon)
- Serving Of Alcoholic Beverages
Child Abuse: Sex/Physical/Emotional/Bullying/Hazing/Harassment
- Safe Sport Act Applies To Most Amateur Sports Organizations
- Types Of Criminal Background Checks
- Criminal Background Check Vendors
- Volunteer Application Form (WORD DOC)
- Sadler Safe Sport Child Abuse And Other Misconduct Risk Management Plan
- Abuse Awareness Training For Minors (Ages 4-12)
- Abuse Awareness Training For Minors (Ages 13-17)
- Interactive Concussion State Law Map
- Concussion Awareness Risk Management Plan (Football and Cheer)
- CDC Online Training Course
- NAYS Concussion Training Video
- CDC Parent/Athlete Concussion Fact Sheet
- Seahawks Tackling Resources
Other Serious Risks
- Lightning Safety And 30/30 Rule
- Bleacher Risk Management
- 12- And 15- Passenger Vans
- Guide To Preventing Heat Stroke Death In Youth Tackle Football
- Food Handling Checklist For Sports Concession Stands
- Parade Float Risk Management
Most Common Risks
- Improper Supervision And Instruction
- Facility And Equipment Problems (Coming Soon)
- Improper Sport Injury Care
Document Retention in Event of Litigation
Written Risk Management Plans Pulls Together Above
- Sample AYF/AYC Risk Management Plan:Implement this comprehensive risk management program or similar to reduce litigation risk at your locations and in all areas of your operations including facilities, equipment, supervision, instruction, rules, injury response, sex abuse & molestation, and use of autos. Includes best practices as well as contractual transfer of risk through participant registration forms such as waiver/release and emergency information/medical consent, as well as the use of insurance requirements and hold harmless/indemnification provisions in agreements with vendors and visiting teams.
- Safe Sport Child Abuse And Other Misconduct Protection Plan
- Concussion Awareness Risk Management Plan (Football and Cheer)
This is not an all-inclusive list, check out our risk management page for other articles, programs, videos and forms.
Risk Management Committee
Our sports organization should appoint a risk management committee, the names of which should be documented in our official records each season.
(Note: best to limit to an odd number for vote tie breaking. The RMO can be a member of the committee)
The Risk Management Committee should meet during the pre-season and post season and any other time a special meeting is required.
The duties of the Risk Management Committee should be as follows:
- Long range planning to discuss all facility and equipment updating and budgeting.
- Monitor and study effectiveness of Risk Management Program.
- Recommend risk management changes to board of directors.
Insurance Policies (Administrators Only-staff may skip this section)
The following insurance policies should be in force prior to the start of the first activity of the season as evidenced by proof of coverage documents on file with the appropriate sports organization administrator:
- Accident $100,000 minimum requirement
- General Liability $1,000,000 minimum requirement
- Directors & Officers Liability
- Workers’ Compensation (optional: depending on if required by state law due to number of employees)
- Business Auto (optional: depending on if title held for vehicles)
- Property (optional: depending on if buildings are owned or if required under lease)
The Accident and General Liability policies should at least meet the minimum standards as specified by AYF/AYC for regional/national championships.
See AYF/AYC endorsed insurance plan: https://www.sadlersports.com/ayf/.
Contractual Transfer of Liability (Administrators Only-staff may skip this section)
Participant Registration Forms
The following participant registration forms found under the Risk Management section at www.sadlersports.com/ayf should be completed and signed by parent / guardian and by minor (waiver / release only)
- Waiver / Release of Liability
- Should be maintained on file with RMO for at least 16 years.
- See report: “Why Waiver / Release Agreements are worth the paper they are written on.”
- Emergency Information and Medical Consent
- Electronic and/or hard copy should be maintained by both the RMO and the coach or manager. The coach or manager should have access during all practices and games.
- Precautions must be taken to keep this information confidential with access to others on a “need to know” basis only.
Other Important AYF/AYC Forms
- Medical Clearance Form – see myayf.com
- Doctor’s Resume Participation Consent Form – see myayf.com
Facilities Leased From Others
Whenever facilities are leased from others:
- Review article “Before You Sign the Sports Facility Lease Agreement”.
- Consult with local attorney to review lease to make sure indemnification/hold harmless provision is fair per principles in above article.
- Consult with your insurance agent to make sure your insurance policies/coverages are in compliance with lease requirements.
- When Additional Insured status is requested by facility owner always attempt to provide a version that has an exception for premises defects.
Facilities Leased To Others
Whenever your facilities are leased to others:
- Consult with local attorney to draft written lease agreement.
- Insert a hold harmless / indemnification provision in your favor per article under Risk Management section “Before You Sign the Sports Facility Lease Agreement”.
- Agreement to require lessee to provide evidence of in force General Liability insurance with an insurance carrier rated at least A-, VII by AM Best. Such policy should have an each occurrence limit of at least $1,000,000 and name your sports organization as “additional insured”. Furthermore, such policy should not include an exclusion for “Athletic Participants” if lease is for athletic events.
- Consult with your insurance agent to make sure that the particular type of lease is covered by your own General Liability policy.
Outside Teams Visit and Tournament Hosting
Whenever you invite teams from outside your sports organization to play at your facilities or host a tournament at your facilities:
- Review When Hosting Tournaments Transfer Risk to Visiting Teams
- Consult with local attorney to draft a written tournament host agreement.
- Insert a hold harmless / indemnification provision in your favor where visiting team assumes all third party liability if they are partially or wholly negligent.
- Agreement to require visiting teams to provide evidence of the following in force policies with carriers rated at least A-, VII by AM Best:
- Accident Insurance with a medical limit of at least $25,000.
- General Liability with an each occurrence limit of at least $1,000,000 and to name your sports organization as “Additional Insured”. Furthermore, such policy should not include an exclusion for “Athletic Participants”.
- Consult with your insurance agent to make sure that hosting a tournament is covered by your own General Liability policy.
Use of Service Providers or Vendors
Whenever you use service providers or vendors (ex: umpire, concession, field maintenance, security, etc.):
- Review article entitled “Collect Certificates of Insurance from Vendors”.
- Consult with local attorney to draft a written service provider or vendor agreement. Or, if the service provider or vendor provides the agreement form, have it reviewed by your attorney.
- Agreement should include a hold harmless / indemnification provision that is favorable to you where service provider or vendor assumes all third party liability if they are partially or wholly negligent.
- Agreement to require service providers or vendors to provide evidence of the following in force policies with carriers rated by AM Best of at least A-, VII:
- General Liability with an each occurrence limit of at least $1,000,000 and to name your sports organization as “Additional Insured”.
- Optional: Workers’ Compensation insurance to comply with requirements under your state’s Workers Compensation laws.
Abuse/Molestation Risk Management
The Sports organization should adopt and implement the Safe Sport Child Abuse and Other Misconduct Risk Management Plan for Non NGB Organizations.
Avoiding or Mitigating High Risk Activities
Our sports organization should avoid and/or mitigate the following high-risk activities:
(Note: select the options that apply)
Group Transportation of Participants: (note: select and/or delete from the following options)
- All group transportation of participants whether in a single vehicle or multiple vehicles should be prohibited.
- Any group transportation of participants whether in a single vehicle or multiple vehicles should be authorized in writing by the RMO.
- Prior to authorizing group transportation, the RMO should get written consent from all drivers to run a motor vehicle record check with satisfactory results received.
- Driver disqualification criteria should be as follows:
- During past 5 years: Any one of the following major violations: DUI, hit and run accidents, failure to report an accident, operating a vehicle under a suspended or revoked license, homicide/assault/felony arising from operation of a vehicle, reckless driving/speed contest/racing.
- Preceding 3 years: two or more at fault accidents, three or more moving violations, or combination of two moving violations and one at fault accident.
- The use of 12 -15 passenger vans for group transportation should be prohibited and approved vehicles include school buses, 7 passenger mini vans, and private passenger vehicles. (Note: SUV’s should be avoided due to tip over propensity.)
- If 12 -15 passenger vans are to be used despite the warnings, the risk can be mitigated by taking the following steps:
- Use a trained, experienced driver who is at least 21 years of age and not a student.
- Although a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is not required to drive a 12 – 15 passenger van, it is preferable. If the driver does not have a CDL, he or she should be required to complete driver training which includes a road test.
- All occupants including the driver should wear safety belts.
- Limit night driving. Driver fatigue is the top cause of accidents.
- If possible, move passengers and cargo forward of the rear axle and never place loads on the roof.
- Make driver aware that over-correcting after running off the road is another leading cause of accidents.
- Check tires before every trip for both excessive wear and proper inflation per vehicle placard or owner’s manual. Many are surprised to learn that the typical recommended pressure for rear tires is much higher than front tires.
- Authorized drivers driving school buses should comply with all required licensing and regulations including Commercial Driver’s License.
- The driver and all passengers should wear seat belts. Staff should supervise to make sure youth are wearing seat belts.
- The use of cell phones or texting by the driver while driving should be prohibited.
- Only travel immediately “to and from” is permitted. Drivers should not be permitted to run errands or make unnecessary stops while in route.
- Proof of Auto insurance should be provided for all vehicles used for group transportation with liability limits of at least $1,000,000 combined single limits or split limit equivalent.
- The sports organization should carry Non Owned and Hired Auto Liability with a limit of at least $1,000,000.
Individual Staff Provided Transportation of Participants: (note: select and/or delete from the following options)
- Staff provided local transportation of participants should be prohibited except under emergency situations.
- Staff provided local transportation of participants is not authorized by the sports organization and is a matter between the staff member and the parent / guardian. This policy should be communicated to all parents / guardians via written memo prior to the start of the season. It is recommended that the staff member should get written permission from the parent/guardian before providing transportation.
- Staff provided transportation of participants should be authorized only to the extent that the staff member is designated an approved driver by the RMO pending suitable motor vehicle record check and proof of Personal Auto Liability coverage in the amount of at least $500,000 combined single limits or its split limit equivalent. Drivers should provide written consent to have motor vehicle record run.
- Driver disqualification criteria should be as follows:
- The driver and all passengers should wear seat belts.
- Cell phone usage or texting by the driver should not be permitted while driving.
- The sports organization should carry Non Owned and Hired Auto Liability with a limit of at least $1,000,000.
Managing the Charter Bus Risk:
Here are tips for reducing the risks of the use of charter buses which generally have a very low incidence of crashes but the severity potential can be high with multiple passengers suffering serious injuries and/or deaths:
- Hire a charter bus that has safety belts if at all possible.
- Supervise the mandatory use of safety belts if available.
- Only hire a charter bus company with a satisfactory safety rating by verifying online.
- Only hire a charter bus company with adequate insurance by verifying online.
- See article entitled Managing Charter Bus Risk for Sports Organizations
Serving Of or Use of Alcoholic Beverages:
- The use of alcoholic beverages should be prohibited at all sports organization events.
Certain Fundraisers: (note: select and/or delete from the following options)
- Youth participants should be prohibited from engaging in fundraising activities that are not adult supervised.
- Dunk tanks, inflatables, and similar devices should only be provided and run by outside vendors that can show evidence of General Liability insurance with a limit of at least$1,000,000 and naming the sports organization as “Additional Insured”.
- (note: select and/or delete from the following options)
- Swimming events sponsored by the sports organization should be prohibited.
- Swimming events sponsored by the sports organization should be allowed only if conducted in the presence of a trained and certified life guard who is employed by an outside organization.
- Swimming events at the home of staff should be prohibited.
Liability risk can be reduced if the following guidelines are followed:
Stop Rowdiness: Participant rowdiness and roughhousing results in a great number of senseless injuries in youth sports. Staff should recognize these activities and should put a stop to them through appropriate means.
Location of Supervisor: The location of the staff supervisor should be close enough to an activity to personally observe, instruct, correct, and supervise. This applies to both sports activities and non-sports extracurricular activities such as team trip to ice cream parlor or back yard cookout.
Ratios of Supervisors to Participants: The appropriate number of staff supervisors should be present at all times to adequately observe, instruct, correct, and supervise. Make sure that arrangements are made up front so that team staff is not shorthanded at any practice or game.
Selection of Size, Age, and Skill of Participants: Participants of various sizes, ages, and skill levels should not be mixed. This is accomplished at the sports organization level by restricting age range categories and by prohibiting play against outside competition where participants fall outside of such categories. On the team level, staff should not match up players of different skill levels or sizes in dangerous drills and staff must be careful not to personally injure participants during practice instruction.
Liability risk can be reduced if the following guidelines are followed:
Sport Specific Techniques:
- Coaches should follow accepted practices for teaching football and cheer related techniques.
- Coaches should receive continuing education on latest techniques as follows:
- Pre-season coaches workshop
- Recommended Videos
- Special emphasis should be on the following more hazardous areas of the sport:
- Tackling technique
- Concussion recognition, removal and return to play policy
Review of Safety Rules and Procedures:
- Required by governing/sanctioning body or sports organization specific
- Review all rule changes during pre-season with administrators and staff
- Review the following rules with players before every practice and game
AYF/AYC Coach Training/Certification:
- All AYF/AYC head coaches should be certified prior to start of duties and should retain updated certification.
- Certification should be obtained through AYFcoaching.com online course.
- All coaches should take and pass the free National Alliance for Youth Sports online concussion training course. See section on concussions.
Selected AYF/AYC Safety Rules
Sports organizations should follow their sanctioning body’s rules and regulations.
Team practice should not commence until the fourth Monday in July with the first week being dedicated to 10 hours of conditioning only, before full contact is allowed.
Preseason practice can be on a daily basis until Labor Day, but should not exceed 10 hours a week, and two hours in duration. Mandatory 20 minute break after each hour of practice should be required. Wet Bulb Globe Temperature index max required longer break times depending on conditions.
After Labor Day, all practices should not exceed the maximum of eight hours per week with a maximum of two hours duration per day. Mandatory breaks should still require.
Practice staff requirements:
- At least one coach should be present during every practice.
- Each and every coach should have a background check performed and reviewed/approved by the process established by the association/conference.
- There should be at least one person holding a Red Cross card, or a similar equivalent, present at all practices. This coach could be a coach or any volunteer approved by the Association.
- There should be no inter-team practice or games between teams/divisions. This requirement is so that teams will not compete outside of their own age group during full contact practice or games.
The following drills and warm-up exercises should be banned from all activities: leg lifts, neck bridges, neck rolls, bull in the ring, barrel rolls, any and all drills and exercises not generally accepted as safe and that may not be reflective of actions that would normally occur during the course of a football game.
The National Federation of State High School Association and National Collegiate Athletic Association rulebooks contain strong language on blocking and tackling. Coaches should be fully informed and abide by all such rules of their state’s governing body. Coaches are also responsible to review these rules every year. In addition to other specific prohibitions, but blocking, chop blocking, face tackling or spearing techniques should be strictly prohibited. See Football/Cheer Brain Injury Concussion Awareness Risk Management Program for practice restrictions to reduce full contact during practices.
Football games should be scheduled no more than one game per week with a minimum of 48 hours between games.
In the absence of a physician and/or ambulance on site, the minimum requirement should be the presence of an individual who is EMT certified, is currently certified in Red Cross community first aid and safety or its equivalent.
Coaches should have Emergency Medical Release forms in their possession at all times.
The emergency medical evaluation plan should be reviewed with visiting team to include ambulance access to field, directions to facility, emergency medical services phone numbers, and local police and fire phone numbers.
Once an injured participant is removed from the game, they should not reenter the game unless first approved by the emergency medical personnel covering the game. If a participant is transported off the field to a medical facility or for any reason seeks medical attention whether from an injury sustained during a game or practice, they should not resume participation without the written consent from a MD or DO. See AYF Doctors Resume Participation Consent form in myayf.com.
Medical clearance: all AYF participants should deliver to their local association proof of a medical clearance before participating in AYF programs. This includes but is not limited to preseason practice. The exact wording of the medical clearance can be found in the AYF Rules and Regulations manual and the form can be found in myayf.com.
- Head coaches should be at least 21 years old. The coaching staff will be under his/her direction and supervision.
- Assistant coaches should be at least 18 years old and have graduated from high school or hold a GED certificate. They should have a general knowledge of the game of football.
- Coach trainees should be a minimum of 16 years old and may only carry out the instructions of the head or assistant coaches.
- Each team should have a coach or volunteer that is the holder of a current Red Cross certificate in community CPR and first aid or its equivalent.
- All administrators, coaches, and volunteers should abide by a standard of conduct which includes the provisions as outlined in the AYF Rules and Regulations manual.
Coach training and certification:
All head coaches should be certified and updated using AYFcoaching.com online course. This course will provide education on being a better communicator, administering sports first aid, planning your season and practices, and teaching fundamentals such as concussion risk management.
The general football rules as stated in the official rules and regulations which apply to football players also apply to cheerleaders, with the exception of weight or weight ins, and, of course, the rules of contact, except superseded by the official cheer rules and regulations. See the AYC Rules and Regulations manual for a listing of all prohibited stunts in levels 1-4. Coaches and coordinators are responsible to comprehend and comply with all cheer/dance/step age division requirements, AYC general safety rules, Youth Cheer And Dance Alliance (YCADA) safety rules, and/or routine guidelines pertaining to the competing division.
Student demonstrators should be 14 years of age or older; however, if the student demonstrator is attending high school, he or she may be 13 years old. Student demonstrators may only carry out the instructions of the head or assistant coaches. Student demonstrators may not conduct a practice.
Head coaches should complete an association/conference approved training program. The association/conference may also make this a requirement of assistant coaches. It is highly recommended that all coaches successfully complete, at a minimum, YCADA’s Coach’s Safety Certification Course Y101 available online at www.ycada.org/ayc.
Preseason practice can be on a daily basis until Labor Day, but should not exceed ten hours per week, and 2 1/2 hours in duration per day. A mandatory ten minute break after each hour of practice should be required. Mandatory breaks do not count against the hours per week or the maximum hours per day.
After Labor Day, all practices should not exceed a maximum of eight hours per week, with a maximum of 2 1/2 hours per day. Mandatory breaks should still be required. All players, regardless of when they joined the team, should have at least one week of conditioning (at least 10 hours) before they are allowed to engage in regular practice. This requirement should be met even if a cheerleader joins the team after the start of the regular season schedule. Conditioning is defined as basic warm-up exercises; conditioning for jumps & tumbling (not tumbling); arm motion drills; and basic stunting at prep level; and learning of cheers and chants.
Level Division Guidelines:
Each of the age divisions should be divided into skills levels 1- 4.
These levels were created in the interest of providing safety increased and convenience for teams that may perform a different skill levels. Coaches must consider tumbling and stunting abilities when choosing a level in which their team will compete. Team should choose to compete in the level that accurately matches the overall ability level of their team.
Teams should be required to comply with YCADA rules, as well as the skill restrictions that correspond to the level division that they choose. Any team that violates a safety guideline performs a skill not permitted in the level should be subject to penalty.
Risk Warning and Informed Consent
Liability risk can be reduced by providing our participants with a risk warning and by obtaining their informed consent to be subjected to such risks.
Our mandatory participant waiver / release form includes a risk warning and informed consent provision which may satisfy this legal requirement and may be used as evidence to trigger an assumption of risk defense. It is critical that your minor participants sign this document in addition to their parents.
(Note: See our recommended which Minor Waiver/Release Form includes a strong risk warning and informed consent provision for your protection; however, many other wavier / release forms don’t include such a provision or include one that is watered down with weak language.)
Sports Injury Care
Liability risk can be reduced by implementing the following guidelines:
Serious Injuries: Head, neck, and back injuries; fractures; and injuries that caused the player to lose consciousness are among a class of injuries that you cannot and should not try to treat yourself. If you suspect that a player has received an injurious blow to the head, no matter how mild symptoms, you should view it as a serious injury. If the player only has mild symptoms, such as a headache, call the parents and have them take the player to a doctor immediately. You should alert EMS immediately if the player has lost consciousness or has impaired memory, dizziness, ringing in the ears, blood or fluid draining from the nose or ears, or blurry vision. If you suspect that a player has a spine injury, joint dislocation, or bone fracture, do not remove any of the player’s equipment unless you have to do so to provide life-saving CPR.
Pre Participation Screening: Prior to participation, all players should submit our approved Medical Clearance Form (see myayf.com) that is fully completed and signed by an appropriate health care professional. In order to participate, all players must be cleared by an appropriate health care professional for full participation in the sport without restrictions.
Flexibility: All coaches should require the team to engage in standard flexibility and stretching exercises prior to all practices and games.
Conditioning: Coaches should be encouraged to instruct on and implement a reasonable and age appropriate conditioning program.
Strength Training: Coaches should be encouraged to instruct on and implement a reasonable and age appropriate strength training program. (Note: strength training with weights is normally not encouraged until players reach age 12.)
Emergency Weather Plan:
In the event of lightning, the 30/30 lighting rule should be followed. All outdoor play should be suspended with appropriate evacuation whenever the lightning strike to thunder clap count is under 30 seconds. Furthermore, play should not resume until thunder has not been present for 30 consecutive minutes. On site evacuation is only permitted in fully enclosed buildings. If such building is not available, all players should evacuate to vehicles. See article entitled Lightning Safety for more information. All administrators and staff should read this document.
In the event of tornado warning, all outdoor play must be suspended with appropriate evacuation and shelter instructions as follows:
Avoiding Heat Illness:
The sports organization should adopt and implement the guidelines found in Guide to Preventing Heat Stroke Death in Youth Tackle Football. All administrators and staff should read this document.
The sports organization should adopt and implement the guideline found in Football/Cheer Brain Injury/Concussion Awareness Risk Management Program. All administrators and staff should read this document and sign off that they will comply with the policies curtained therein.
Pre Injury Planning
Emergency Phone List:
Water Emergency: _______________________
Gas Emergency: _________________________
Electricity Emergency: _____________________
Site Map: See attached in Appendix. (Note: should include a detailed map of all fields, parking areas, buildings, streets, as well as symbols for emergency access points for EMS, first aid stations, AED’s, fire extinguishers, and utility disconnect or shut off points. The exact name and address of the facility should be listed as well as the names of the closest roads and intersections. The site map should be kept with all first aid kits.)
First Aid Kit:
A first aid kit should be available at all practice and game locations.
Each coach should keep a fully stocked first aid kit in his vehicle at all times.
Ice or Cold Packs:
Access to ice or cold packs should be available at all practice and game locations.
First Aid and CPR Training:
In the absence of a physician and or ambulance on site for practice or game, the minimum requirement should be the presence of an individual who is EMT Certified, is currently certified in Red Cross Community First Aid and Safety or its equivalent.
Emergency Information and Medical Consent Forms:
Each coach should keep either a hard copy or electronic copy with them at all times in the event emergency treatment is required.
Assess Injury And Treat Accordingly: Staff members should assess each injury and treat accordingly.
Medical Emergency: In the event of a medical emergency, EMS 911 should be called if immediate attention is necessary. The site map should be referenced when speaking to EMS so that clear instructions can be provided about the location of the facility and the best access point.First Aid: When administering first aid, the staff member should not exceed the scope of his or her training. The purpose of first aid is to merely stabilize the situation by preventing it from becoming worse. Once the situation has been stabilized, all other treatment should be provided by a medical professional.
Emergency Information and Medical Consent Form: This form should be given to EMS upon arrival so that they will be aware of any preexisting medical conditions and allergies.
Notification of Parents: Parents should be notified immediately is there is a treatable injury.
Notification of Risk Management Officer: The RMO should be notified of all injuries so that he / she can document the injury and provide Accident insurance claim form to parent or guardian.
Return to Play: Once a player has suffered an injury that requires medical treatment by a qualified health care professional, the decision regarding the appropriate time to return to play should be made by the qualified health care professional. The coach should not put pressure on the player to return too early and the instructions of the qualified health care professional should be honored. See AYF/AYC rules for form entitled AYF Doctor’s Resume Participation Consent Form (myayf.com). As regards concussions, only a MD or DO can sign the Resume Participation Consent Form.
(Note: select and or delete as appropriate.)
Liability risk can be reduced by implementing the following guidelines for all fields that are either owned or controlled under long term lease (use of fields under short term permit requires fewer duties):
Design and Layout: Facilities should be in compliance with all local and state building codes, sports governing body requirements, and standards set by sports facility architects.
Adequate and Appropriate: Facilities should be adequate and appropriate for their usage in terms of size, configuration, and quality.
Controlled Access: Facilities should control access to eliminate or limit the usage by unauthorized persons and trespassers. Examples:
- Fencing with gates locked during off season.
- Post signage that states: “Unauthorized Use Prohibited. Violators Will Be Prosecuted”
- Periodic staff patrols should be made before hours and after hours and during off season. Upon detection of unauthorized use, police should be notified and violators will be prosecuted.
Inspection, Maintenance, and Repair:
The following schedules should be maintained by the designated parties:
Daily During Season:
- Rest Rooms (to be performed by designated staff)
- Sweeping, mopping, surface cleaning, and general sanitation
- Replacement of supplies such as toilet tissue and soap
- Verify that all toilets, urinals, and sinks operate properly
- Concession Areas (to be performed by concession staff)
- Sweeping, mopping, surface cleaning, trash removal, and general sanitation
- Parking and Spectator Areas And Routes To And From (to be performed by staff)
- Police and remove trash, glass, rocks, hypodermic needles, fallen tree branches, etc.
- Police and verify bleachers are in good condition
- Police and verify safety railings in good condition
- Police and verify safety fencing and netting in good condition
- Police and correct any holes or depressions
- Police and correct any raised areas or cracks in sidewalks
- Outdoor Fields (to be performed by staff)
- Verify all lighting is operating properly and correct any burned out bulbs or misdirected lights.
- Police and correct for trash, glass, rocks, hypodermic needles, fallen tree branches, etc.
- Police and correct all fences for damaged posts, holes, protruding points, etc.
- Police and correct any holes or depressions on field
- Police and correct all sprinkler heads for breakage, settling, or raised elevation.
- Police and verify that all field lines have been clearly marked.
- Gates should be opened for emergency access to fields.
- No equipment should be left on ground close to playing field. Helmets on ground are the cause of numerous injuries.
- The edge of the playing field must be at least 6 feet from trees, walls, fences, and cars.
- Storage sheds and facilities are locked.
- The playground area, including ground surface and equipment, is in good condition.
Weekly During Season:
- Fields (to be performed by designated staff)
- Mow fields
- Restore lines as needed
Seasonal: (to be performed by safety committee and board of directors)
During the off season, planning and completion of necessary modifications, repairs, and maintenance to field surfaces, parking surfaces, spectator area surfaces, bleachers, fencing, lights, electrical systems, etc.
Responsibility and Documentation:
After the inspection, maintenance, and repair schedules have been completed, individual responsibilities should be clearly communicated to administrators, staff, and any independent contractors. The RMO should be responsible for monitoring and quality control. When hazards are discovered, they should be immediately reported to the RMO and addressed. The RMO should keep records documenting all maintenance and repairs.
Liability risk can be reduced by implementing the following guidelines:
Purchase and Use of Equipment: When purchasing new equipment and using existing equipment, keep in mind that it should be used for its intended purpose as prescribed by the manufacturer. Review all manufacturer specs on intended use, appropriate age group, capabilities, and limitations. Equipment should comply with all standards of governing body, sports organization, and NOCSAE.
Equipment Modification: Never modify equipment as this may void the manufacturer’s warranty and shift liability to our sports organization. As a general rule, only the manufacturer’s representative should modify equipment. However, some equipment was meant to be modified to meet certain needs such as fitting. In these circumstances, only modify according to the original manufacturer’s instructions.
Inspection: The sports organization equipment manager should inventory and inspect all equipment in the preseason and replace all equipment on an as needed basis. The equipment manager should issue required equipment to all teams. Athletes and coaches should inspect all equipment prior to each practice and game. Upon discovery of a defect, equipment should be taken out of service. If repairs are not possible, a spare should be available.
All equipment, whether team or player provided, should be inspected prior to each game for condition and/or fit.
Required Football Equipment:
- Shoulder pads: Body padding should not extend beyond the tip of the shoulder; the pads should fit snugly in the neck area when the arms are extended overhead.
- Helmet: The helmet should fit snugly around the head and in the jaw section; the head should be in contact with the crown suspension when the front edge is approximately 1 inch (2.5cm) above the eyebrow.
- Clothing: The jersey should fit close to the body and should always be tucked into the pants to hold the shoulder pads in place; the pants should hug the body to keep the thigh and knee guards in place.
- Mouth guard: The mouth guard should fit properly.
- Girdle pads: The hip pads should cover the point of the hip and give proper protection to the lower spine.
- Thigh and kneepads: Thigh and kneepads should be the proper size and must be inserted.
- Shoes: Cleats should be inspected regularly to ensure even wear and stability; proper width is very important; the upper should never overrun the outsole.
- Fitting Of Equipment: Coaches and managers should verify for making sure that all equipment fits properly. Improperly fitting equipment or improper modification can result in liability.
- Maintenance and Repair: Maintenance and repair of equipment should be undertaken on a routine basis. Maintenance is defined as the ordinary upkeep of equipment such as cleaning and tightening screws. Repair is defined as the replacement of worn or broken parts or correcting major problems. Maintenance and repair should only be undertaken by a properly qualified person who follows the written guidelines and specifications of the manufacturer. Whenever in doubt, it’s best to transfer the liability risk to a manufacturer’s representative.
Reconditioning: Reconditioning is an attempt to restore equipment to its like new condition.
It is always safest to transfer the liability risk of reconditioning to a reputable reconditioning business that is approved by the manufacturer. Reconditioning of football helmets requires NOCSAE recertification and the appropriate NOCSAE seal affixed by the reconditioners inside the helmet. Currently, only 21 equipment reconditioners and 4 helmet manufacturers are licensed by NOCSAE to recertify to NOCSAE standard.
Replacement: Equipment should be replaced per manufacturer’s guidelines. Such replacements should be planned and budgeted for well in advance. A certain percentage of equipment should be replaced each year in a regular cycle to avoid wide variations in the age and quality of equipment. All football helmets 10 years old or older should be replaced.
Record Keeping: Written documentation should be maintained for all repairs and reconditioning for each piece of equipment.
See the following sections for more information:
- Avoiding or Mitigating High Risk Activities
- Mandatory Staff Meeting to Review Basic Risk Management Instructions.
Crime is defined as administrator/staff embezzlement, charging of personal expenses to sports organization account, and theft of cash/equipment.
To follow are precautions:
- Avoid having multiple board members and/or officers who are closely related as this provides an opportunity for collusion.
- Require joint signature of all checks.
- Bank accounts should be reconciled monthly by someone who is not authorized to deposit or withdraw.
- Credit card statements should be reviewed monthly by someone not authorized to use such credit cards.
- Conduct an annual inventory of all equipment.
- Collect checks instead of cash during fundraisers if possible.
- For gate receipts always use tickets or a counter and verify numbers against cash intake.
- For concession operations, always take a beginning and ending inventory prior to each event.
- Create an audit committee to review all financial records, account statements, and equipment inventories on an annual basis.
Of course, Crime insurance should be purchased as some people will steal no matter what precautions are taken.
Summary of Basic Risk Management Duties
The following instructions should be received in pre-season meetings of all administrators and staff:
(Note: select and/or delete from following options)
- All forms of child abuse including sexual, physical, emotional, harassment, bullying, and hazing are prohibited.
- Any type of grooming behavior is prohibited.
- Two deep leadership is required where two adults (e.g., any combination of staff or parents) should be present at all times so that a minor participant can’t be isolated with a single unrelated adult, except in the case of an emergency.
- In special situations involving an adult such as car travel, overnight travel, locker rooms/changing areas, individual coach meetings, and individual training sessions, minors should always have another child buddy with them or a second adult within an observable and interruptible distance.
- All electronic communications including email, texting, instant message, etc. between the staff member and a minor participant should be limited strictly to the legitimate activities of the organization. A parent/guardian of minor or another staff member should be copied on all such communications.
- Staff and minor participants should not connect on social media outside of the organization’s official social media accounts.
- Any overnight travel exposure should prohibit adults spending the night in the same room as an unrelated minor participant; require grouping of participants of the same sex and age group in rooms; and provide adequate oversight with a same-sex chaperone for each group.
- Federal or state law may require any adult staff member who has a suspicion of child sexual or physical abuse to independently report such suspicion directly to law enforcement within 24 hours. Failure to report may be a punishable offense.
- In addition, the adult staff member should report the suspicion within 24 hours to the appropriate organization official and the official should also report to law enforcement within 24 hours if there is suspicion that child sexual or physical abuse has been committed.
- Smoking or the use of tobacco products in the presence of children should be prohibited.
- Using, possessing, or being under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or unauthorized prescription drugs during any sports organization activity is prohibited.
- Transportation of participants should be prohibited except under emergency situations.
- Staff provided transportation of participants is not authorized by the sports organization and is a matter between the staff member and parent / guardian. This policy should be communicated to all parents / guardians via written memo prior to the start of the season. It’s recommended that staff members get written permission from the parent / guardian before providing any transportation.
- Staff provided transportation of participants is authorized only to the extent that the staff member is designated an approved driver pending suitable motor vehicle record check and proof of Personal Auto Liability insurance in the amount of at least $500,000 combined single limits or the split limit equivalent.
- Use of 15 passenger vans and 12 passenger vans for transportation should be prohibited.
- Staff should not leave a child unattended or unsupervised before, during, or after a practice, game, or any other activity.
- Staff should never release children to anyone other than an authorized parent or guardian or other authorized adult (with written permission on file with sports organization.)
- Have a cell phone for 911 and access to first aid kit.
- Staff should immediately report all injuries to RMO.
- Staff should immediately report all complaints to appropriate supervisor.
- Staff should inspect facilities / equipment prior to each practice and game.
- Staff should immediately inform RMO of all physical hazards and unsafe acts.
- Staff should modify or halt practice or game if necessary to work around physical hazards.
- Staff should observe the lightning safety 30/30 rule.
- Staff should observe all rules as regards heat illness.
- Staff should closely supervise children.
- Staff should always follow all sports organization rules.
- Provide other sport and facility specific instructions.
- Other: __________________
- Other: __________________
- Other: __________________
A hard or electronic copy of this risk management program should be distributed to each administrator and staff member prior to the start of every season. Each should acknowledge in writing (wet or electronic signature) that they have received and carefully reviewed the entire program. The sports organization should maintain documentation on an annual basis of the risk management plan that was distributed as well as the administrator and staff acknowledgements. For tips on how to properly retain risk management documents for litigation purposes, see How to Easily Organize Sports Risk Management Docs in the Cloud.