Injurys On The Football Pitch


Posted 19th November 2013 - Posted in Players News

It’s accepted that there is a risk of injury to a football player in every match at every level. Common footballing injuries include fractures, sprains, knee ligament injuries and head injuries. Although stories of footballers being injured are a main-stay in the back pages,  a players duty of care is seldom discussed. This article delves further into this area, highlighting a few well known injurys and the comments of those involved.

The Basic Duty Of Care

Participants in a sports game owe a duty of care to all other participants. Commenting on Aaron Ramsey’s horrific double leg fracture in 2010 from a tackle by Stoke City’s Ryan Shawcross, Arsene Wenger said, “All players should have a duty of care, and most of them fulfil it. I can understand people want to be committed and I have no problem with that. I like players who put their foot in, but it has to be with a fair intention. There is a grey area over intent. You can never prove it. There are a few tackles where you can say that the tackler should be suspended for as long as the guy is injured. But you have to prove intent.”

This sums up the problem with intent – how can you tell if a tackle was fair or malicious? as Harry Redknapp said at the time, “Players deserve a duty of care. I think with Shawcross, you only have to look at his reaction when he came off. He was distraught by what had happened ... not because he'd been sent off but because the boy was hurt and he cared.”

Accidents can happen as a result of a momentary lapse of skill or an error of judgement and in these cases it’s hard to prove that the intent behind them was malicious as by definition an accident is an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally.

However, this doesn’t mean that all tackles or collisions on the football pitch are unintentional - so how do you measure intent?

Assessing Intent

There are a number of ways to gather this information:

Video footage - Although many non-league games are not professionally filmed, the popularity of video phones means that it’s likely an incident could be captured on film.

Witnesses – Often the only truly independent witnesses will be the referee and linesmen.

Match reports – Not every football club will file a match report after a game but they can be vital in gaining a clear insight into what happened during the game.

Medical evidence – Medical evidence can go a long way to determining whether the site of the injury is consistent with a dangerous challenge and can also help to determine what degree of force was used to produce the injury sustained.

Association Football lawsLaw 12 covers fouls and misconduct, was Law 12 broken in the incident?

With thanks to Richard Meggitt of ASD for contributing this interesting article. Richard is partner and personal injury solicitor at Sheffield's Accident Solicitors Direct.


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