Athletic Training The ugly side of the job
Legal Issues • Even though when an athlete chooses to participate in a sport and risks becoming injured or permanently disabled, the ATC may be subject to legal liability • It is important for an ATC to understand certain legal terminology
Legal Jargon • Negligence-failure to act as a reasonably prudent person would act in a similar situation • Ex. An ATC finds a huge hole on the field hockey field and instead of reporting it and making people aware of it, he/she does nothing. • Gross negligence-a step beyond negligence. • Ex. Not giving an injured person instructions on what to do, even if it’s a simple injury.
More Legal Jargon • Assumption of risk-when a person fully understands that by participating in sports he/she may be injured • Players must understand that they are assuming the risk of being injured by participating in a sport. • Informed consent-permission by parents (after being informed of the possible dangers of being injured) for the medical staff to treat their child if he/she is injured
Last but not least… • Proximate cause-the close connection between the way the ATC acted and the resulting injury to an athlete. • Ex. If an athlete has a neck injury and the ATC notices weakness and lack of movement in the neck area, but allows the athlete to continue to play, a more serious injury could result.
Avoiding Legal Problems • Have a written contract • ATCs, coaches, and other pertinent personnel should have a detailed contract that provides a job description • Use equipment that meets established safety standards • Require preparticipation physical exams • Can help identify existing conditions that may lead to an injury
Avoiding Legal Problems • Have all athletes and their parents/guardians sign an assumption of risk form • Maintain CPR, AED, first aid certifications • Have a crisis plan • Must have in writing for both home and away contests. Should explain all procedures that need to be carried out and everyone involved should have a copy and know their role. • Document all injuries and procedures
Avoiding Legal Problems • Maintain confidentiality • Required by law to keep medical information confidential • Build trust • Check for hazards • Periodically examine athletic fields and courts for hazards • Stay educated
Preventing Injuries • Reducing the risk of legal liability includes practicing comprehensive injury prevention. • A comprehensive injury prevention program includes the following: • Educating the athlete • Teaching athlete about the dangers involved with sports and the proper technique of his particular sport
Comprehensive Injury Prevention Program • Rule enforcement • Teaching the athletes the rules to help prevent injuries • Proper matching • Athletes should be matched by several factors including weight, age, and skill level • Physical fitness • Being physically fit can help reduce one’s risk of injury