All-Star Who Is Liable?

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Dec 16, 2010
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I was talking to a gym owner the other day and she was telling me about her gym, the coaches and safety procedures. She brought up a VERY interesting point about her gym's policy of "Over spotting".

How many times have you coaches been in this situation:

You have repeatedly spotted a athlete over and over again on a new skill, or a skill that the athlete has done before, but is having consistency issues. As a coach, you know that if the athlete did it by themselves they would land it. After numerous "just be there" type spots, you tell the kid to go by them self. They keep pulling the "ohh....just ONE more spot" card on you and you give in.
(Situation A): Then finally you quit giving in, and tell them "That last spot, was your last".
The athlete ask (or whines) "Please just be there..."or "please just one more spot"
You make them go by them self.
Or:
(Situation B): An athlete that has been doing a skill consistently for a LONG time randomly asks if you would spot them, of "be there" during that skill that they have been doing for YEARS...
You look at them like they are crazy, then say "SERIOUSLY, Just GO!"
You make them go by them self.

In either situation above, Who's fault is it if that athlete gets injured on that one pass, or one skill you told them you would not spot them on?
Wither or not the child's accident was due to nerves or was just a freak accident... YOU, the coach refused to spot them on that one skill that injured the athlete.

The owner of this gym believes that the coach is liable, and by this, the gym is liable. They put in the policy of "Over spotting" athletes until the athlete makes the decision them self, to attempt a skill on their own.

Thoughts?...
 
When coaching I feel like you should know your athletes well enough to see the body langauge that either says "im confident and can do this" or "im gonna eat it" therefore you shouldnt get into their fault your fault situations...but we all know we dont live in a perfect world and accidents happen, but every athlete and Parent should know that the sport they are participating in is very dangerous and can have consequences
 
I would think, regardless of asking for and receiving (or not as the case may be), that any injury thathappened in the gym would make the gym liable. That's why they have, and the athlete's pay for, insurance.
 
When coaching I feel like you should know your athletes well enough to see the body langauge that either says "im confident and can do this" or "im gonna eat it" therefore you shouldnt get into their fault your fault situations...but we all know we dont live in a perfect world and accidents happen, but every athlete and Parent should know that the sport they are participating in is very dangerous and can have consequences
While I do agree with your statement, I have seen athletes that have that "I'm confident and can do this" body language, go for the pass and completely freak out mid air.
My point is that the coach can say "I KNOW he/she had that skill by them self , but their nerves caused the accident" But in the end, what it boils down to in a parents mind is that an athlete got injured on a pass that you refused to spot.
 
I would think, regardless of asking for and receiving (or not as the case may be), that any injury thathappened in the gym would make the gym liable. That's why they have, and the athlete's pay for, insurance.
I agree...

But another thought is what if that parent takes the case to court?
Most coaches are not even technically certified to sport tumbling. They were just trained by the gyms owners and from previous experience.
The parent could say that not only did the coach refuse to do something to keep there child safe, but they were also never trained to keep their kid safe in the first place.
Even with Insurance liability waivers I sure they would have a case.
 
I agree...

But another thought is what if that parent takes the case to court?
Most coaches are not even technically certified to sport tumbling. They were just trained by the gyms owners and from previous experience.
The parent could say that not only did the coach refuse to do something to keep there child safe, but they were also never trained to keep their kid safe in the first place.
Even with Insurance liability waivers I sure they would have a case.

Yup...and most cases like that are settled out of court, which is part of the reason why insurance is so high. Also, if the child that gets hurt is a minor, they (the athlete) can sue the company (gym) once they come of age (I forget for how many years they are still able to file suit). That's one of the reasons these things are settled. It's usually cheaper, and keeps them from coming after you later on.
 
It burns me up that so many people are so quick to sue someone. The coach is not a "babysitter". Someone always wants to blame someone else and not accept responsibility. This is a SPORT and injuries will occur. There are those time when someone is negligent but I feel like they are few and far between. My daughter broke her femur while at a tumbling clinic while throwing a new skill by herself for the first time, and I never once thought the gym or the coach were at fault or didn't do what was right. You can't spot a kid forever!
 
Coach works for the gym, unless coach break procedures its on the gym. But gyms have insurance for that reason!
 
Coach works for the gym, unless coach break procedures its on the gym. But gyms have insurance for that reason!
Still doesn't change that fact that a parent in this situation could sue the gym even if they signed a wavier. and like NJCoach said, They settle out of court, which can cost a gym a good chunk of change.
 
I think the best way to get a kid to do a tumbling pass by themselves that you know they have is just to not spot them. Don't tell them you're not going to spot them, and be ready to catch them if they freak out. If I'm tumbling, I'm going to throw a skill if they're there, saying they're going to spot me, even if they don't. I know that will happen. If they say they're not going to spot me, I freak and wont do it.

Now as far as liability goes, I know that when I was cheering, I had to sign a liability waiver (my parents signed it before I was 18), saying that if I got hurt in the gym, it's not their fault. Now obviously there are ways to get around that if they commit negligence, but still.
 
it honestly depends on the kid. Some kids need the push to just do it. i was one of those kids who would throw anything i thought i could land so if i needed a spot, i seriously needed a spot. some people just dont have the self motivation to do it. i would hope the older and better the kid is, the more they can "man-up" and do a skill they have consistently had. but going back to the beginning, it depends on the kid.
 
Thats been my motto since I started cheer.... And while I agree with it 100%... You cant tell that to a parent.

You can tell it to me! I'm the one always saying it--so it's not really fair to make that statement. My daughter has been hurt COUNTLESS times in the gym. It's never even crossed my mind to sue them.

And like powerXbaby said--you have to sign a waiver before your child can set foot in the gym. It very clearly states that you are aware that cheerleading is an extremely dangerous activity and that injuries do happen. I don't know how you'd prove negligence unless it was something blatant like unsafe equipment or something like that. Not spotting isn't really negligence.
 
You can tell it to me! I'm the one always saying it--so it's not really fair to make that statement. My daughter has been hurt COUNTLESS times in the gym. It's never even crossed my mind to sue them.

And like powerXbaby said--you have to sign a waiver before your child can set foot in the gym. It very clearly states that you are aware that cheerleading is an extremely dangerous activity and that injuries do happen. I don't know how you'd prove negligence unless it was something blatant like unsafe equipment or something like that. Not spotting isn't really negligence.


But like somebody has previously said...If they are being trained by someone who is not technically qualified to spot in the first place then you could prove negligence.
 
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