Failure to ensure that your organization is 100% compliant can result in life-threatening injuries for athletes, thus increasing liability. Therefore, sports organizations' first and most crucial responsibility is to provide a safe environment for athletes by upholding policies and standards that promote safe programming overseen by educated and qualified staff. These policies and standards include sports safety compliance. Sports safety compliance prioritizes athlete health by ensuring that sports organizations, coaches and parents are educated on everyday situations that pose potential risks to athletes and the steps they can take to minimize them.
In-season and preseason sport safety compliance are equally important; however, one encompasses health safety and compliance in-season or during play. During preseason, organizations must be proactive to set themselves up for successful in-season compliance. No matter the time of year, specific compliance requirements must be followed. Here's what you need to know…
State Vs. Federal Level Compliance
In all 50 states, concussion education is a requirement for parents, coaches and volunteers. However, each state has its own varying level of additional requirements, including sudden cardiac arrest, heat illness training, and more. In addition, state level mandates are evolving annually with new legislation. Currently, at the Federal level, child abuse prevention training and background screens are mandated for all organizations and coaches.
Often, organizations are simply "checking the box" regarding sports safety and compliance rather than ensuring that proper education is effectively reaching the key staff responsible for athlete wellbeing. Why is this an issue? Not only does a lack of compliance and standards increase the risk of athlete injuries, but it also increases the organization's liability and poses a major potential financial risk. Furthermore, simply following the letter of the law does nothing to deliver the law's intent.
InjureFree helps clients maintain appropriate levels of compliance by delivering education through a centralized process, documenting the entire organization is in compliance BEFORE the season even begins. In addition, proactive organizations prioritize risk management and may even have their own protocols or education in place to ensure compliance. For example, US Youth Soccer (USYS) has their own "head injury notification form," which includes procedures and protocols for athlete head injury management. This is just one prime example of an organization taking the initiative to support their athletes.
- Risk management for sport organizations and sport facilities. Sport Law. (2002, August 23). Retrieved May 1, 2023, from https://sportlaw.ca/risk-management-for-sport-organizations-and-sport-facilities/
- Sport safety and risk management for coaches. Special Olympics Coaching Guide. (2003, December 1). Retrieved May 1, 2023, from https://media.specialolympics.org/soi/files/resources/Sports-Rules-Competitions/Sport_Safety-RiskManagement.pdf
- Wickes, M. (2022, August 11). Why coach compliance is crucial in Youth Sports. LeagueApps. Retrieved May 1, 2023, from https://leagueapps.com/blog/youth-sports-coach-compliance/