School Liability in Gym Class Accidents
A study by the Journal Pediatrics revealed that gym class accidents and injuries increased by a whopping 150 percent between 1997 and 2007; there are more than 400,000 injuries reported every year. The study was based on the number of emergency room visits by children injured in gym class accidents and showed an increase from 24,000 per year to 60,000. Put another way, in 1997, there were an average 4.39 trips to the emergency room per every 10,000 kids; a decade later, the number had increased to 10.9 visits. Seventy percent of gym-class related injuries were caused by the same six activities: running, basketball, football, volleyball, soccer, and gymnastics. With all the negative press that it has gotten, some people might by surprised that dodgeball doesn’t make the list.
With a decrease in school funding, P.E. classes have actually become less available so there are a lot of questions as to why the number of injuries are increasing. Some experts speculate that the increase in childhood obesity and large class sizes may be contributing factors. It is important to note that many schools no longer employ a school nurse so there could be more trips to the emergency department without an actual increase in injuries.
Gym Class Accidents and Injury Statistics
- Half of all gym class injuries were among middle school kids
- The most common gym class related injuries are bruises, sprains, strains, fractures, and cuts
- Outdoor gym classes have seen heatstroke and dehydration situations
- Boys account for 54 percent of all gym class injuries
- Boys are more likely to get hurt playing group sports or by colliding with other kids or their surroundings
- High school aged boys incur more gym class related injuries than elementary aged boys
- Girls are more likely to get hurt by twisting an ankle while running, playing tennis or participating in other individual or paired activities
School District Liability for Injuries on School Grounds
School district liability for injured children is an ongoing debate and a controversial topic among parents and schools. From state to state, courts are weighing in on whether a parent has a right to damages after their child is injured in a gym class accident.
Over the years, courts have seen lawsuits against school districts filed for a variety of reasons including school-yard fights, bullying, lax security, and dodgeball injuries. As school districts have endured lawsuits some have decided to stop allowing certain games or activities on school grounds; most famously dodgeball and any other “human target” games.
School liability for injured children will continue to evolve in the legal system as views change on appropriate types and amounts of physical fitness. As schools become more concerned about liability, limiting more physical activities may become a reality.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!