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Sports and the Law Essay

Sports is a wonderful gateway for recreation. It gives sense of completeness and physical balance for a person. That is why joining in sports activities is rewarding in any way. However, it may also cause accidents and unavoidable consequences. As such, there is a need for a knowledge of the law that governs sports accidents and careful application of the same. A contract should be entered into between the participants and the sports organizers to this effect. This is necessary in protection of the players or participants.

Contract is the meeting of the minds between two or more persons or entities in which there is a promise to do something in return for a valuable benefit known as consideration. There are various types of contracts and these include unilateral contracts, bilateral contracts, oral and written contracts, conditional contracts, and joint and several contracts. A unilateral contract is one in which there is a promise to pay or give other consideration in return for actual performance.

A bilateral contract is one in which a promise is exchanged for a promise. Oral contracts are more difficult to prove than a written contract. Conditional contract includes conditions or an event occurring whereas joint and several contracts means that several parties make a joint promise to perform but each one is responsible impliedly in which the courts will determine there is contract based on the circumstances (“Contracts”, 2007, p. 1).

The elements of contracts that will make the same valid involves the offer, an acceptance of that offer which results in a meeting of minds, a promise to perform, a valuable consideration which can be a promise or payment in some form, a time or event when performance must be made, terms and conditions for performance and performance of the contract. Any one of these elements that is not present in a contract will make the same void or voidable. In the case of Vernonia School District 47J v.

Acton (Supreme Court, 1995), the Supreme Court of the United States found that mandatory drug testing in high school athletics programs was not an unreasonable search or seizure, nor was it an invasion of privacy. The petitioner school operates one high school in Oregon. The school also involves in athletics activities as sports play a 2 prominent role in the town’s life, and students athletes are admired in their school and community. However, due to the observed increase in drug use, the school required every athlete to be under drug test.

And yet, it was regarded by the concerned that it was against the right of every individual against unreasonable searches and seizures and an invasion of privacy. Respondent Acton was denied participation in his school’s football program when he and his parents refused to consent to the testing. It was the right of the school to require Acton to be under drug testing based on the contract he signed under the football program. They then filed this suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief on the grounds that the Policy violated personal rights identified earlier.

There is a close relationship of tort law with sports. It cannot be avoided that participating sports activities will result to accidents due to negligence of the parties. To be able to resolve a particular case, tort law will come to the rescue. Many sports pose serious danger to participants. Generally, a person who suffers a sports-related injury may recover for medical expenses and other losses if the injury was caused by negligence of another party. Injuries and damages resulting from intentional torts, such as battery or assault, likewise are recoverable.

Courts generally decide suits involving injuries to athletes, spectators, and other parties involved in sports according to basic tort laws. If a party owes a duty of care toward another party and that duty is breached, the party owing the duty is liable for any injuries suffered by the party to whom the duty is owed that result from breach. The level of duty will vary according to the circumstances. When the situation is dangerous, it will require a high degree of care, and less dangerous situations require less care (“Sports Law”, 2004). Athletes may recover for injuries resulting from another’s party’s negligence or intentional acts.

Athletes in contact sports consent to some physical contact, but courts do not find that participants consent to contract that goes outside the bounds of the game. In some cases, schools are 3 even liable for injuries of the athletes. If an employee of the school such as a coach or referee fails to properly supervise a student and the student suffers an injury as a result of the failure to supervise, the school may also be held liable for the employee’s negligence. Defendants in sports-related personal injury suits may posses any number of defenses.

One of the most successful of these defenses is that the party assumed the risk of being injured by playing in or watching the sporting event. Defendants may also argue on their part that the plaintiff was negligent and therefore should recover only a portion of his damages or nothing at all. This can be illustrated in a situation where a plaintiff may have ignored warnings or signed a document that waved the defendant’s liability for any injury suffered by the complainant. We will now discuss a case that is related to the topic on negligence and injuries. This was the case of Montalvo v.

Radcliffe (Federal and States Cases, 1999) wherein Michael Montalvo, a 12-year old boy with AIDS, was denied admission to a traditional Japanese style martial arts school because of his HIV-positive status. In this action, brought under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act thereby prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability by places of public accommodation. The district court denied Montalvo’s relief because his condition posed a significant risk to the health or safety of other students and no reasonable modification could sufficiently reduce this risk without fundamentally altering the nature of the program.

The Court affirmed the same decision. The facts of the case would tell us that Southside Virginia Police Karate Association, Inc. operates a karate school in Colonial Heights, Virginia, known as U. S. A. Bushi- dokan, which is owned by James P. Radcliffe, II. The school teaches exclusively traditional Japanese, combat-oriented martial arts. Within the first three weeks of lessons at U. S. A. Bushidokan, students learn techniques that involve substantial body contact, and within the first few months they apply these techniques to spar in actual combat situations.

Radcliffe testified at trial that the sparring often results in injuries which, while minor, are bloody. 4 In the course of their sparring or their fighting a blow can take place that may initiate some type of open wound or may initiate blood flow. The continuation of their activity continues for as long as they continue to show defensive techniques and then at some point, maybe seconds, maybe even closer up to a minute, they will break and at that point that is normally the point where we will notice that someone has blood on them.

When they spar one person off another, at the finish of that whole thing, 10 to 15 minutes, they will have blood all over their uniforms and hands and have no idea where it came from, who it came from or things of that nature. Radcliffe explained that to progress “through the belt,” as a level of achievement, a student must “engage in combat activity fighting. You have to do the self-defense. It involves contact, that is exactly what they do. Radcliffe also noted that inherent in this form of karate are consistently scratched skin, scratches, gouges, bloody lips, bloody noses, things of that nature.

Accordingly, the Court concluded that U. S. A. Bushidokan who is the owner of the martial arts class, in excluding Michael Montalvo from participating in its combat-oriented group karate class, did not violate the rules under question because Michael posed a significant risk to the health and safety of others that could not be eliminated by a reasonable modification. Finally, we should not forget that the law on torts and damages is very important to be studied in relation to participation is sports activities because it will protect the safety of every athlete or player.

It will also give a balance in giving decisions of every issue posed by the parties. 5 References Concord Law School. (2007). Sports Law Cases. Retrieved 4 December 2007, from http://www. news. findlaw. com/legalnews/sports/sports_law/cases. Karate Law. Com. (2004). Sports Law. Retrieved 4 December 2007, from http:// www. karatelaw. com/sports. html. Law. Com Dictionary. (2007). Contract. Retrieved 4 December 2007, from http:// dictionary. law. com/default2. cap? selected:337&bold.


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