As spring arrives, the number of outdoor activities increases for families. One of those activities is youth sports. My family –that is my kids-loves to play sports. My son loves to play youth baseball and my daughters love to play soccer and tennis. When I grew up, organized sports were not as popular as they have become now. My friends and I usually played sports in the backyard-we played baseball, basketball and football games for hours on end.
Now it seems kids’ sports are more organized. With that increased participation and organization, come duties and responsibilities of the youth sports organizations. The number one priority of organized sports is keeping kids safe. Parents entrust their children to the sports organization expecting that the organization will keep the child safe. That is a reasonable expectation.
All providers of youth sports should keep their premises safe-including the property. So the organization should inspect its premises for holes, and other hazards that could injure a guest or participant. Additionally, the organization should devise rules for pets on premises. Many people bring their dogs along to the kids sports games and those dogs are not used to being around crowds resulting in the dogs becoming too aggressive.
Importantly, the organizations should adequately and responsibly supervise the games so that kids do not get hurt. An organization should make sure that a child has the physical ability to play in the game without becoming injured. A child may not be as advanced as other children thus making the child susceptible to injury during the course of the game.
Some sports injuries suffered by children are unavoidable-like spraining an ankle while running to catch a pop fly. However, other injuries to participants can be directly laid at the feet of the organization-including failing to properly supervise and failing to keep equipment in good condition. Just the other day, I heard of an injury at a youth baseball field. A kid was taking batting practice in an outdoor cage that was enclosed with netting. The netting had developed a hole. Another bystander child was observing when a sharply hit ball flew through the hole in the net and hit the bystander child in the face causing very serious injuries and huge medical bills. Guess who has to pay for those huge medical bills? That’s right. Mom and Dad have to pay those medical bills. This accident could have been easily prevented had the organization maintained its equipment and batting cages.