The insurance coverage that accompanies NYSCA membership is ultra valuable for volunteer coaches in today’s lawsuit-crazy youth sports environment.
But alarmingly, coaches with expired memberships or mistakenly assuming they’re covered for multiple sports, among other common errors, are exposing themselves to costly and time-draining lawsuits as well as potentially crippling medical bills if they suffer an injury while working with their players.
And it happens all the time.
In recent months a youth football coach in the Midwest was assaulted by a parent while teaching a tackling drill, resulting in injuries to his back, neck and head; and a basketball coach in the South fractured his ankle while demonstrating a play to his team.
And as the spring season rolls around, check out these injuries that NYSCA baseball and softball coaches have suffered, resulting in thousands of dollars in medical bills: torn ankle ligaments from stepping on a ball; a fractured foot sustained while running on the field to congratulate players; a fractured nose when a ball struck him in the face while throwing batting practice; knee surgery after being hit by a line drive in batting practice; a concussion from being hit in the head by a batted ball; a torn bicep muscle and tendon; and the list goes on and on.
“It seems that almost monthly we get reports of lawsuits involving one of our members,” said John Engh, chief operating officer of NAYS. “Sometimes it’s about a coach who tripped in the dugout and other times it’s a claim against a coach for an injury to a player. But the alarming issue is how many coaches have let their membership lapse and end up not being covered. I tell members all the time ‘even if you don’t take advantage of any other benefit, the $20 annually for extra insurance is well worth it!’ The bottom line is, if you are coaching, you are crazy not to be covered!”
Initial Level NYSCA members receive a $1 million excess liability insurance policy while Continuing Level members have that policy increased to $2 million in addition to a $250,000 Excess Accident/Medical Insurance policy. These important policies are one of the many reasons that the NYSCA program is the mostly widely used and respected volunteer coach training program in the country.
Keep the following tips in mind so you’re not caught without coverage – because you never know when you’ll be sued by a parent or suffer an injury yourself while running a practice:
• Lapsed memberships:
If you are late renewing your membership – by a couple days, a week, a month – you have no coverage for those days and are not only a prime target for a lawsuit but you’ll have to dig deep into your pocket to cover medical expenses associated with any injuries you sustain coaching your team.
• Sport specific:
You are only covered in the sports that you have completed NYSCA training in – so if you’re an NYSCA football coach and are sued or injured while coaching baseball, you’re in trouble.
Coaches in their initial year of membership are not eligible for the Excess Accident/Medical Insurance policy – you’ve got to be a Continuing Member to earn that extra layer of protection.
• Pay attention:
Don’t ignore the renewal notices you receive from NAYS Headquarters when your membership is nearing its expiration – they’re sent for your benefit to help protect you!
• Just ask:
If you’ve got a question about your membership status, your coverage, or anything else, email our member services department at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 800-688-KIDS – they’re here to help you!