Sports Law • Risk Management


September 13, 2010: Incident Reports: An Essential Element of Risk Management Planning

About 15 years ago, I was running on a treadmill in a very exclusive health club when I suddenly flew off the machine, cutting my leg in the process. I’m not sure if the tread on the machine was worn out or if I stepped in a way that contributed to the mishap. Nevertheless, I suffered a bloody gash in my leg that required some minor first aid. There were quite a few horrified witnesses, but no gym staff to be found. I wandered the club, hoping to find an employee. Eventually, I came upon a staff member in an office adjacent to the weight room. His response to the incident was to give me 2 small bandages. I was not asked to fill out an incident report of any kind. There was also no special attention given to the wound. No questions were asked about how the incident happened.

September 11, 2010: Ocean Sports: 10 Tips to Avoid Sharks

Last night, I swam a mile at the YMCA as I try to do at least 3 times each week. A fellow attorney, Mike Wong, was swimming in the lane next to me. I asked Mike how the Waikiki Rough Water 2.4 mile swim went on Labor Day. Mike said that he was pleased with his swim, but was more interested in telling me about a relay that his team had swum in the Molokai Chanel. He described the rough water and then, said with an apparent twinkle in his goggle covered eye that “one of our colleagues showed up”. It didn’t take long before I caught on. “You mean a shark?” I asked. “Yes, a 14 foot….” He replied. I didn’t catch the make and model of the shark as I was so amused by his reference to the shark as our colleague.

September 9, 2010: Splitting Hairs

Insurance companies are like athletes in that both entities take risks. But when an insurance company takes a risk on an athlete, the results can be unusual.

Just recently, an insurance company placed coverage of one million dollars to protect the hair on a particular athlete's head. The athlete with the now insured long locks is Tony Polamalu, an NFL player.

September 6, 2010: Pulling An Early Yellow Card

While watching a college soccer match earlier today I was reminded of the importance of having a strong head official. I watched one team play dirty because they were clearly outmatched by the technical footwork of their opponents. The head referee set the tone of intolerance against dirty playing early in the game by giving out a yellow card within the first several minutes of play. Furthermore, he was consistent in his calls throughout the match.

September 5, 2010: Football Coaches Keeping Quiet about Head Injuries

University of Hawaii Warriors did well in their football season opener against USC. Although they lost 49 to 36, they certainly held their own. Unfortunately, UH starting quarterback Bryant Moniz suffered a hard hit on the helmet in the third quarter. This seemed very serious to me and I was certainly concerned about whether Moniz would be medically cleared to fly to the East Coast to play their next game against Army. All that I heard on the news was that Moniz sustained a “possible head injury” or an “apparent head injury”. No one was saying that he had a concussion, because to do so might have meant benching Moniz even if it turned out that he did not. Apparently, medical clearance in such instances can take a week or more and this can certainly impact an athlete’s season.

August 31, 2010: Withholding Water as Punishment

Just yesterday I was told a surprising story by a woman recalling a childhood experience with a former coach. Her coach tried an unusual tactic to motivate athletes: if an athlete failed to perform, the coach would dump some of the contents from an athlete's water bottle. Thus, as punishment, the coach took away water, a critical element for an athlete's health and overall performance.