Shoulder injury during 7th grade football practice...

by Liz
(Texas)

My son injured his shoulder during football practice. He was doing a play where he was "wrapped and tackled down". Once he was down he pushed himself up to get up and the coach told the other player to "complete the block". So he jumped on my son and as a result he injured his shoulder.

Is this necessary in football practice? As a parent I feel this could have been avoided. How do I handle situation with the school? Is there anything I can do? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Shoulder injury during 7th grade football practice...":

Liz (Texas):

From the facts you present, there doesn't appear to be any wrongdoing of a legal nature. Certainly you are well within your rights to speak with the coach. Beware though, doing so can backfire and cause great embarrassment to your son, especially if it becomes known among the players you went to the coach on your son's behalf.

Whether or not the coach's directive to the other player to "complete the block" was inappropriate is difficult to know. More than likely, it was not. Your son could have just as easily not been hurt. It would not be unreasonable to say the coach's directive to the other player to complete the block was issued in an effort to teach, and without malice aforethought in an attempt to injure your son.

Schools have a legal duty of care to do everything within reason to assure students are safe from undue harm and injury. This includes doing everything within reason to be sure sports participants are coached properly and within the bounds of safety.

When it comes to high school football, especially in the competitive arena of Texas, boys who seek to become members of the football team, and their parents, "assume the risk" of injuries. Injuries happen all the time in high school football. As long as a coach doesn't act willfully or wantonly to place his or her players in physical jeopardy, the coach is within the bounds of acceptable practices.

You have a couple of options...

First: You can ask to speak with the coach privately and discuss the matter.

Second: If you aren't satisfied with the coach's explanation of the matter you can remove your son from the football team.

The nature of your question further implies you are considering the possibility of having the school pay for your son's medical bills, medications, etc., and possibly an additional amount for his pain and suffering. Unfortunately, the chances of your succeeding in such a claim are minimal, at best.

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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