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Liability Relating to Sports Injuries

Sports play a huge role in the lives of modern society and participating in sport has proven, on the whole, to be beneficial to a partaker’s health. However, there are times when sport can have a detrimental effect on a person’s health particularly in relation to sport injuries. We are going to exam the types of sport injuries that can occur and who should be deemed liable for sports injuries by applying the legal principles to reach a conclusion.

Injuries in sport are a common occurrence and can be differentiated between long term and short term. Whether a sports institution or employer can be held liable for an injury may be based on the principle of ‘Nous Actus Interveniens’ in terms of causation.  This means ‘a new intervening act’ or the ‘but for’ principle and causation. For example, say a player receives an illegal tackle in football causing paralysation from the neck down, should the player responsible be held liable, because but for the tackle, the injured would still be able to walk? In such situations there are rules and disciplinary actions to deal with such occurrences.

In a situation where by rugby player’s teeth are broken following a tackle, and in such instance they weren’t wearing a mouth guard, there may be an argument as to who should be liable. Using the principle of Nous Actus Interveniens, but for them wearing a mouth guard, the accident wouldn’t have happened, liability is likely to fall on the injured party unless they can successfully argue they weren’t educated or provided with the necessary equipment to prevent the injury and didn’t sign an disclaimers absolving the sports institutions in question from liability.

Educating those partaking in sports about the potential short/long term effects that certain contact sports such as rugby or boxing can have may can put the onus on the partaker as they will become fully aware of the risks involved.

Concluding, therefore it can be argued that liability in relation to sports injuries depends on the actions taken by either the sports institution or the partaker. Who can be held liable will be more straight forward if the partaker is properly educated and equipped to deal with the potential hazards in the sport.


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