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Assumption of risk Linda Cameron The athletic trainers role • Prevention – Educate about risks when participating – Pre-participation physicals – Make sure participant has protective equipment – Identify safety hazards • Activity areas • Equipment – Environmental and physical conditions of participants Ways to prevent injury • Know your participants – Physical limitations and medical history • Be attentive – Watch what your participants are doing • Safety equipment – Updated; in good condition • Know the activity area – Look and know potential dangers • “We can look for some, but others will never be found” Assumption of Risk • Attempts to inform participant that there is a possibility for injuries while performing activity • “The permission form (slip)” Problems with assumption of risk forms • Parents/Guardians don’t READ the form • Does not protect you from negligence or void the duty to act – Statute of limitation- a period of time where participant (or parent/guardian) can sue for treatment or neglect of an injury (1-4 yrs) • Usually doesn’t state how an injury will be treated if one occurs • Although forms state the fact there is a possibility of injury, some participants look past the “small print” • There is a chance if they get injured they will find a way to blame you for negligence Examples of cases • Wu vs. Shattuck-St. Mary’s School (Civil No. 03-4870) Minnesota – Mother signed forms allowing daughter to participate in school activities – Daughter sustained severe head injuries due to being hit with golf ball during golfing class – Parents sued school for teachers negligence – Ruling: resolution dispute among themselves Examples (cont) • Hughes vs. Seven Springs Farm Inc (No 81) Pennsylvania – Skier was injured by another skier who was behind her – Assumption of Risk located on the ticket – Skier entered a business relationship – Ruling: Seven Springs Mt. Resort not reliable • The previous examples show where the assumption of risk form has protected the activity center. • There are cases in which the assumption of risk did not hold value in courts. • Allen vs. Dover Co-Recreational Softball League (No. 2001-457) New Hampshire – Plaintiff participating in organized recreational softball game – Attempted to sue all the organization involved with the tournament: ASA, the league, team sponsors, American Legion (owners of the field), and the insurance company – Ruling: both the defendant and plaintiff found at fault and the case was dismissed • As shown in the previous case, injured participants don’t only go after one involved party. – League Coach – Team sponsors Athletic Trainer – ASA Athletics Dept. – Insurance company School – American Legion NCAA So…. • Have participants sign assumption of risk forms • Educate- verbally tell them there is a risk; teach them proper technique/care • Watch- inform them if they are doing something harmful • Document- have proof that you took action to protect your participant, have them sign if possible.
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