Although in many - if not most - instances, a school will not be held liable for sports-related injuries (see, e.g., "Claim By Student Injured While Playing Football By School 'Bus Circle' May Proceed, Says NY Appeals Court"), there are some important exceptions to the general rule.

One such exception - such as when a school refuses a student's affirmative request for appropriate sports safety equipment - was the subject of a Queens trial court's decision in Shields v. City of New York, et al., which was handed down on March 23.

In denying the defendants' motion to dismiss the school negligence case, the Court's stated as follows:

"[A] school district remains under a duty to exercise ordinary reasonable care to protect student athletes involved in extracurricular sports from unreasonably increased risks" (Baker v. Briarcliff Sch. Dist., 205 A.D.2d 652, 655 [2d Dept. 1994] (internal citations omitted)). The affidavit of a fellow lacrosse coach that failure to provide safety equipment is a breach of sound coaching practices and the infant plaintiff's testimony that he had repeatedly requested safety equipment and was assured that it would be provided, raises a triable issue of fact as to the reasonableness of defendant's actions (See Cody v. Massapequa Union Free Sch. Dist. No. 23, 227 A.D.2d 368, 369 [2d Dept. 1996]; Baker, 205 A.D.2d at 652; see also Royal v. City of Syracuse, 309 A.D.2d 1284, 1285 [4th Dept. 2003]).
Jonathan Cooper
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