Poor Supervision Leads to Devastating Gym Class Basketball Injury

    This athletic management case involves an injury to a student, which she sustained during gym class. The plaintiff, a 13-year old female, was engaged in a school gym basketball match. She was playing on a girls’ team against boys larger than her. No instruction, safety measures, or gear (mouth or head guards) was provided and the plaintiff was struck by a hard ball in the face and injured severely.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Was it appropriate to have girls playing against boys?
    • 2. Should the plaintiff have been allowed to play without any safety measures or gear?

    Expert Witness Response E-001352

    The concept of mismatching sexes is well known and utilized by coaches and instructors. The allowance for this usually involves considerations of age, size, experience level, and other factors to ensure that any mix is played safely. As an adjunct professor and former administrator at a university, I have over thirty years experience as a professor, coach, and coordinator of recreational professions. I have frequently focused on safety and risk management. Also, my experiences coaching and teaching at the grade school level, as well as my certification as a Certified Recreation Administrator by New Jersey, make me very familiar with all relevant standards and rules for recreational safety in the academic environment.

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