Personal Injury, Insurance, March Madness, Attorney, Walton and Brown

March Madness: Who's Paying for Your Child’s Sports Injury?

It’s that time of the year again! College basketball is big news every March, when more than 5.6 million viewers on average per game watch the “March Madness” NCAA basketball tournament. Despite the unbelievably improbable odds of filling out a perfect bracket (one in 9.2 quintillion!), roughly 70 million people still test their luck and complete brackets at work, at home, and for fun. 

A big factor when determining the outcome of the games depends on the injuries of big name players. In 2016, Louisville player Kevin Ware suffered a devastating leg injury, arguably costing Louisville a shot at the title. Just a few weeks ago, Duke’s rising star Zion Williamson twisted his ankle so badly it burst through his shoe, raising concern among Duke fans about his ability to perform during the tournament. The point is, injuries can happen in unexpected and unwelcome ways. Whether it is on the basketball court, in an automobile accident, or at work, injuries have the potential to change our short-term and long-term plans for the future.  

Injuries while playing sports raise a concern for some families: if my son or daughter gets hurt playing an organized sport, who is responsible to pay for it? From grade school through highschool, millions of children and teenagers play sports and engage in other organized competitive activities across the nation.  

In Ohio, if you were hurt because another person was negligent, you generally have a right to recover against that person by filing a personal injury lawsuit. This law is a little different for sports injuries. The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that special concerns should be enacted when a person voluntarily engages in sports-related activities. This rule is called “assumption of the risk.”  

Ohio law recognizes three categories of assumption of the risk as defenses to a general negligence claim: express, primary, and implied or secondary. Ohio courts generally apply the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk to cases involving sporting events and recreational activities. Under this rule, a person who voluntarily engages in a sporting event assumes the risks of that activity and cannot later sue someone to recover for injuries sustained. The exception to this rule is if another party acted recklessly or intentionally in causing the injuries.  

“The test for applying the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk to recreational activities and sporting events requires that (1) the danger is ordinary to the game, (2) it is common knowledge that the danger exists, and (3) the injury occurs as a result of the danger during the course of the game.” Santho v. Boy Scouts of Am., 168 Ohio App.3d 27, 2006-Ohio-3656, 857 N.E.2d 1255, ¶ 12 (10th Dist.)

What should I do after a sports injury? 

It is more difficult to recover for injuries you sustain while playing a sport than it is in other situations. However, that does not mean that you should completely give up on your case. This area of the law can be complicated, and the answer to your issue may not be clear at first glance.

If you have been injured in a sporting event and you think another person or party should be responsible, you should consult a personal injury attorney who can assess your case and advise you as to the best course of action.


About Us

Walton + Brown, LLP takes pride in having a successful serious personal injury and civil rights practice, unafraid to step into a courtroom and litigate cases to the fullest extent necessary. With over 450 lawsuits filed and over $18 million in settlements or verdicts won for our clients, we bring a record of success. Sean Walton and Chanda Brown have been awarded Top 100 and Top 40 Under 40 designations as trial attorneys.


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