Based on data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 30 million children in the United States take part in organized youth sports activities, and more than 3.5 million children receive medical treatment for sports injuries on an annual basis. Common sports injuries among children include muscle strains and sprains, cuts, broken bones, and head and brain injuries.
Barriers to recovering monetary compensation
One of the primary obstacles to recovering financial compensation following a youth sports injury is the consent waiver that most parents or guardians are required to sign as a condition of their child’s participation in sports activities. Under Colorado law, schools can require that parents sign waivers releasing the school or sports organization from ordinary negligence. These waivers typically contain the following provisions:
You have been informed of the risks of your child’s participation in the athletic activity.
You assume liability for any harm that results from the activity.
You waive all damage claims against the school/organization.
Parents who sign a waiver clause in Colorado typically waive damages for negligent behavior. A waiver clause does not, however, bar suits for intentional misconduct or violations of the law.
Examples of behavior that may lead to liability
The following are examples of behavior resulting in a player’s injury that could potentially subject a school or sports organization to liability for a coach’s actions:
A basketball coach gets angry during practice and assaults a player.
A coach fails to follow state-mandated procedures after an injury such as a concussion or other brain trauma, and a player suffers medical complications as a result.