Legal Question in Personal Injury in North Carolina

foot ball injury

my son was in a game this fri. night when he was clipped in the back and he started hurting. He asked to come out of the ball game but his reguest was ignored. He finally received a second shot in the back. Causing him to say something to the player. The coach did take him out this time but not because of the injury. My son a ttempted to be evaluated by the team doc but the coach rushed him back in the game and the doc could not finish his evaluation. My son now cannot suit up due to injurys substained in the game. Is there some serious neglect issues here??????

Asked on 9/01/03, 1:02 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

John Kirby Law Offices of John M. Kirby
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Re: foot ball injury

Please see a similar inquiry and response submitted around March 2003, regarding an injury at a basketball game.

The coach had some general duty to take reasonable measures for the safety of your son. There are, however, a lot of questions here. If your son's injury was caused by the initial impact, and was not caused or aggravated by the continued impacts or playing, then he has no claim because the coach's negligence (if any) was not the cause of his injuries. The next issue, assuming the injury the next day was caused by the continued play, is whether the coach was "negligent" in keeping your son in the game. That is very difficult because (1) the inquiry is very fact intensive (i.e. exactly what did your son say, exactly how was he moving) (2) the issue is very subjective, and is probably quite debatable within the sports industry. Players and coaches often advocate a philosophy of "playing in pain" (akin to a "no pain no gain" mentality when exercising). Issues might also be raised as to your son's negligence (depending on a host of issues including his age) and your negligence (depending on your knowledge of the situation); I assume your son was not truly forced to play (although of course under the circumstances it would have been difficult for him to say "no"). You would also need to see whether you (or your son) signed any waivers, although in this context their validity and impact is highly suspect. Finally, there are various "immunities" afforded to officials and counties (and school boards), which can impede such claims; this is a complicated issue, often involving the availability of liability insurance. The "short answer" is probably that the situation does not merit any legal action (or demand for compensation) unless there are significant injuries (e.g. herniated disc, bulging disc, pinched nerve, chronic pain). If those significant injuries arise, you should probably consult a lawyer. You can of course also voice your thoughts to the school and school board, and you may have political avenues of recourse.

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9/01/03, 4:51 pm
MIchael Lewis Lewis & Daggett, Attorneys at Law
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Re: foot ball injury

I handled a couple of similar cases. NC makes it very difficult to prove a case against a teacher or coach. Unless your son was permanently injured--and I certainly hope he is not---it is unlikely that it would be worthwhile to pursue a claim.

More details on what happened would be helpful, and I would be glad to review the matter at no charge.

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9/01/03, 6:55 pm

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