Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - 45

CHAPTER 2

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Legal Considerations and Administration

quality of life, in either the short or long term. Although it is unreasonable to think
that all athletic injuries can be averted, prevention of injury is the best way to reduce
the secondary risk of liability for the sports organization or team staff.
Although financial compensation is a typical result of lawsuits, it is important to
recognize that a breach of legal responsibility is often accompanied by other damaging consequences. These consequences may include, but are not limited to, reduced
social standing, damaged professional reputation, difficulty maintaining or attaining
employment, and potential loss of licensure or certification. Being well-informed and
attentive can help to minimize both types of risk. Always keep in mind your protective arsenal: proper documentation, ethical behavior, and active communication with
appropriate team members.
Remember, lawsuits are better prevented than defended. Litigation is time consuming and expensive, so it should be avoided whenever possible. Exercising ethics
and good judgment in every situation is the best way to avoid legal actions. Steps you
can take to avoid legal wrongdoing include the following:
1. Do not allow a patient, client or athlete to begin any program without obtain-

ing a signed informed consent and liability release.
If working in private practice, have clients sign and date a form similar
to the Informed Consent/Liability Release presented Figure 2-2. Likewise,
athletic trainers should use a form similar to the Risk Acknowledgment and
Consent to Participate form introduced in this chapter. For athletes who are
minors, a parent or guardian must sign the form. The athletes and the parents
need an opportunity to ask questions, so it is important to be present when
the forms are signed. This time can also be used as an opportunity to inform
the athletes and parents of the precautions the sports medicine staff is taking
to make the sport safe for the participants.
2. Agree upon fees/costs and put them in writing before the start of services.

Both parties should sign and date the agreement to avoid potential distortion of the facts, should the client become dissatisfied with the service in
any way.
3. Make sure adequate facilities are available for both male and female athletes.

If equal facilities are not available for both men and women, get creative
in making appropriate and suitable arrangements to avoid the potential for
charges of discrimination.
4. All efforts should be made not to be alone in a room with an athlete or patient

to avoid the suggestion of inappropriate behavior.
Please note that this rule of thumb applies to clients of either sex, not
just the opposite sex. A statement, gesture, or touch may be misinterpreted,
or even fabricated, at any time. If possible, try to have another person present
who is the same sex as the patient when an assessment, treatment, or procedure is taking place; this can even be used as a teaching moment for a student.
If this cannot be done, ask the athlete to come back at another time when
another person can be there. Remember that you can always have the coach
come in during the evaluation.
5. Keep detailed notes about all professional activities.

The concept of documentation is emphasized repeatedly throughout this
book, but its value cannot be overstated. Proper and thorough documentation
provides the sports medicine team with important information that can be
used to make decisions regarding the athletes' safety and, in the event of a
lawsuit, may be used to support testimony.

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e

Contents
Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - Cover1
Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - Cover2
Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - A
Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - B
Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - i
Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - ii
Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - iii
Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - iv
Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - Contents
Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - vi
Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - vii
Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - viii
Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - ix
Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - x
Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - xi
Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - xii
Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - xiii
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Sports Medicine Essentials, 3e - Cover4
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