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Liability Ruling Will Sideline More Players

October 26, 2003

Re "State High Court Limits Liability of Coaches," Aug. 29:

I have coached my children's teams for years. Now I will have to carefully consider whether I will continue to do so. I am a volunteer. I am doing other parents a favor by teaching their children athletic skills and self-esteem.

Yet I will now be subject to potentially frivolous lawsuits where my spontaneous decisions could be reconsidered in hindsight.

If I do coach again, I know that I will give players fewer opportunities. Should I let that 14-year-old to try to pitch a curve? No, he might hurt his arm.

Should I let that girl play even though she is out of shape? No, she is more likely to be injured if she is not strong. She will sit out.

The result of this case will be fewer coaches, more insurance, more expensive participatory sports, more liability release forms, more litigation and more people who are compensated for their injuries.

Coaches will be more careful, especially about selecting the athletes allowed to play on their teams. Weak persons people, such as the plaintiff in this case, will have fewer athletic opportunities.

Steve Leonard

Corona del Mar

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