Athletes forced to do movement that damages knees and Achilles?

by Anonymous
(South Carolina)

My child is on a Division 1 volleyball team at a public university where the coach requires a movement during each pass of the ball where the player must go all the way down in a squat position and up ("up down"). This movement is not customary anywhere else.

They practice this daily, and if the athletes don't do it during competition the team runs sprints for each one not done. Nearly every player on the team has an injury from the overuse of their knees and the strain on the Achilles. They have past athletes who have torn their Achilles so they know the damage it does.

Can the coaches and school be sued for injuries to the players because of this training? And for negligence for forcing athletes to do something harmful to their bodies repeatedly? Can anything be done to get the coach to stop requiring these harmful movements? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Athletes forced to do movement that damages knees and Achilles?":

Anonymous (South Carolina):

The obvious question is why you haven't spoken with the coach to express your strong disagreement. That would have been the first step.

There is a valid argument that if there was consistent evidence of injuries directly resulting from the "up down" exercise routines, and your child knew the exercise was likely to injure him or her, your child should have avoided the exercise.

If a person knows, or should know, taking a specific action will likely result in their own injury, that person has a legal duty to "mitigate" or wholly avoid that which will cause the injury. This means if you know you are going to be injured, and you have the opportunity to avoid that injury, then you must do so. If you choose not to and are injured, then the person or institution may escape liability.

Whether or not the coach acted negligently is a subjective determination. Unless it can be shown all, or a great majority of players were injured and had no chance to avoid those injuries, you will not have a viable claim for negligence against the coach or the school district.

If after speaking with the coach you are not satisfied, then go to the next level and speak with the person with the power to change the up-down exercise routines.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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