Supervision and keeping club sports safe

One cause of litigation associated with youth sports-related claims is a lack of supervision by coaches. Claims are often driven by activities associated with failure to properly supervise a participant’s activities and failure to properly supervise gym-related events.

Whenever organizations engage in youth sports activities, they must provide adequate and reasonable measures to ensure the safety of children. According to Youth Sport and the Law, A Guide to Legal Issues, failure to adequately screen your staff can expose you to liability. Hiring coaches with a history of mentally or sexually abusing children is a failure to provide appropriate and adequate supervision.

Completing background checks on potential employees can help you make good employment decisions. During these employment screening opportunities, it is recommended that you establish a comfort level with that person’s sport(s) competencies before putting them in charge of an activity.

Supervisory activities must be performed with a high standard of professionalism and accountability. Organizations must have clear and well-documented expectations of anyone who serves in the capacity of supervisor. Incorporate periodic reviews of these expectations in your staff meetings and hold staff accountable to these standards.

Outlining the rules for club sports

It is important to educate participants on proper rules of play and to ensure comprehensive supervision throughout an activity. Post signs outlining behavioral expectations in the gym, and discuss rules associated with any outdoor game before allowing members to participate.

Other recommendations may include:

  • Properly plan the activity
  • Give thorough instructions
  • Maintain a safe physical environment
  • Furnish adequate and suitable equipment
  • Match athletes by ability, age, and size
  • Warn of inherent risks
  • Have an adverse weather action plan
  • Provide appropriate emergency assistance
  • Make sure spectators stay in their designated viewing area at all times

The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us or your attorney if you have any questions.

For safety or risk management questions or suggestions, please contact Markel.

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