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My child was injured while playing a school sport. Are Illinois schools legally responsible for school sports injuries?

If you watch pro sports, you’ve probably noticed that professional players are always getting injured. Illinois high school sports might seem tame in comparison. But the truth is that Bloomington’s high school and middle school athletes suffer injuries at about the same rate as professional athletes. However, their injuries don’t make ESPN headlines.

Most schools in our area send home a sports permission slip at the beginning of the school year. When you sign the permission slip, you indicate that you understand the normal risks of the sport and agree that you won’t hold the school liable if your child is hurt. Does this form mean you have no rights if your child is injured in an Illinois school sports accident?

It depends on the situation. All school sports have inherent risks. Football players risk getting tackled. A catcher on a softball team risks getting hit with a ball. A gymnast risks falling off the uneven bars. Athletes take precautions and wear safety gear, but there is still a risk of injury. This is an inherent part of the sport.

However, not all injuries are inherent to the sport. There are some cases where the school or team can be held liable for an athlete’s injuries.

Examples of School Sport Injuries Caused by Negligence

  • Injuries that occur because the athlete wasn’t given the right safety gear or because the athlete was given damaged or inadequate safety gear
  • Injuries that occur because an adult wasn’t paying attention or because there wasn’t enough supervision
  • Injuries that occur because of bullying and team initiation or hazing rituals
  • Injuries that occur when a young athlete is pushed too hard or is forced to overtrain
  • Injuries caused by a dangerous condition at the gym or sports facility

 

When negligence causes an injury, parents may bring legal actions against their child’s school or the school hosting the game. However, it is up to the parent to prove that the injury could have been prevented.

If you have questions about a school sports injury, Hupy and Abraham can help. Please call us at 866-532-4800 to schedule your free consultation.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham