Non-school sports teams, particularly at the youth level, have always relied heavily on volunteerism. Many of us have coached our sons and daughters at one point or another, and the though of legal liability over a child being concussed never crossed our minds—until now.
Such is the case with some Oregon legislators who have concerns about Oregon Senate Bill 721, which expands the current law to include “youth sports teams that are unaffiliated with schools and gives responsibilities to youth coaches and umpires, who are often volunteers.”
Rep. Jason Conger of Bend, Oregon is one legislator “concerned about the unintended deterrent the law might create, reducing volunteerism by increasing the risk of legal liability.” Conger, an attorney, states, “When you set a standard in a statute … there’s a presumption of fault, if the standard is not met.”
Dan Gilbert, legislative counsel, took exception to Conger’s legal opinion, saying, “It will make it easier for coaches to know what they should be doing and give them legal cover if they acted properly.”
However, “Gilbert was unable to answer concerns about incidental coaches and umpires who may fill in for a game but do not regularly coach or referee games.”
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