Other Article #3

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Sue Mickelson Other Journal Article #3

Sawyer, Thomas H., Assumption of Risk, Sandler v. half Hollows Hills West High School, et al., United States Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York April 27, 1998. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, March 1999.

The article stated that a 15 year old student, while willing participating in a extra curricular activity, filed a lawsuit against an opponents school district after sustain injuries she received in competition. The participant stated that the school district was liable and negligent because they allowed these players to conduct themselves in such a dangerous manner. She believed that the district should incur the cost of her injuries which she sustained do to their rough play. Winning in a lower court the case was dismissed when it reached the appellant court. The reason for the denial in the upper court was that the plaintiff assumed responsibility for the risk involved when she willing volunteered to participate in the activity. The assumption of risk was the plaintiffs responsibility as she had signed a waiver which included statements that informed her of the potential risk of injury while participating. The article also stated the importance of a waiver for participation and what these waivers must include.

This article addresses many interesting perspectives in regards to participation. In the areas of teaching, such as physical education, where active participation is required, do school district need to provide a waiver for all activities? or do the schools assume responsibility for all injuries that may occur during the school day? It is important that all parties involved have a clear understanding of these things. When pondering these thoughts of who assumes responsibility it can be very disturbing to think of the potential for litigation that could present itself. It is important to understand the basic facts that each person is responsible for their actions when they willingly participate in activities and that the chance for injuries are possible. However, it is also important that participants understand that their actions, if not conducted in a prudent manner, can cause harm to others and they then open themselves up to assuming responsibility for their actions. Clearly this article has many facets and many interpretation can be a problem when dealing with assumption of risk.

-- Anonymous, April 14, 1999


In many cases high school sports have gone far beyond "friendly competition". I am appalled at the lack of sportsmanship of some high school students these days. It is disgusting and saddening to hear students cheer and clap when a rough play is made. Cheap play and unnecessary roughness take away all the enjoyment of watching athletes demonstrate their skills and talent. Officials are crucial in helping to "set the tone" of the game. Infractions should be called immediately and players readily discover that fouls will not be ignored. Coaches should "bench" players that are overly aggressive. I wish there was a way to make sports' games non-contact and vitually risk free. I'm all for a "kinder, gentler nation" and "kinder, gentler sports".

-- Anonymous, May 28, 1999


I also teach Physical Education where safety to me is a huge issue. If a student was to become seriously injured, I suppose I could be held negligent, even is it was their own fault.

I believe it is the instructor/coaches responsibility to keep control of their students/players at all times. Of course you would hope that students would take it upon themselves to behave properly and under control, but many of them don't. It's got to be up to the "adult" to be in control. Including Coaches, teachers, Refs, PARENTS, etc. We have to set a good example for these kids and set the tone in the environment in which they play in.

The waiver issue is a tough call. The responsibility should still lie in the hands of the other player or coach because of how they let them conduct themselves.

-- Anonymous, June 17, 1999

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