Can a coach punish an athlete by having that person come in and perform physical activity without notifying the parent or the player that the activity would be intense?

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Can a coach punish an athlete by having that person come in and perform physical activity without notifying the parent or the player that the activity would be intense?

The player is asthmatic and was underage and the inhaler was not at the school where the punishment was doled out. The player was the only player called in although there were witnesses who saw him undergo his “punishment”. Parents found out when the child came home about to throw up and needed an emergency inhaler.

Asked on March 24, 2015 under Personal Injury, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

IF the coach knew that the athlete had astha AND also knew that the student did not have his inhaler ready at the time, then the coach (and therefore the school) may be liable (or responsible financially) for any injuries. But if the coach did not know those things, it is very unlikely that you could hold him or the school liable, since a coach may order additional physical activity to punish a student athlete--there's nothing wrongful about that in the absence of knowledge of some particular risk.

And if the school and/or coach could, in theory be liable, you could only sue for out-of-pocket medical costs and for pain and suffering with long-lasting impairment or injury. If the student was fine after only a short time and there were no large medical costs, there'd be no point in a lawsuit--you could not recover enough money to justify the cost of the suit (especially since suing government entities, including schools and their employees) is generally more complicated and expensive than even the normal lawsuit.

You could try to file a complaint with the district and see if they will punish the coach in some way.


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