When you're a football coach for a high school, you have an obligation to protect not only the players who play for you, but also the coaches who report to you. An injury to a coach during practice might primarily seem like an issue because it affects the flow of the practice, but it could also lead to a workers' compensation claim by the coach against your school. As head coach, you need to balance your obligations to those below you with your obligations to those to whom to answer — namely, the school and the school board. You don't want to find yourself in a sticky situation of having one of your coaches file a suit against your school. Here are some steps that you can take to lessen this risk.
Survey The Field Before You Blow The Whistle
In a football practice, the head coach's whistle blowing either means to start a drill or end it. You might be focused on seeing how your team reacts to the play that you just called, but don't be so hasty to blow your whistle that you fail to identify if a coach is in harm's way. During practices, coaches will commonly stand on the field rather than on the sidelines, but you want to be sure that every coach is away from where the play will occur before you blow your whistle to start the play.
Discourage Physical Involvement
Sometimes, a football coach will get so fired up to teach a lesson to his players that he'll get physical with them. For example, when a coach is frustrated with a player's lack of ability to tackle fundamentally, he may demonstrate this process on a player. The coach's dedication might be admirable, but there's also a chance that he could get injured. Even during a seemingly light drill, it's important to remember that the player is wearing durable protective gear and the coach is not — and could get hurt during the impact or while falling to the ground.
Be Mindful Of The Heat
High school football players often make headlines for passing out and getting seriously hurt because of the heat, but you shouldn't forget about the health of your coaches. A practice session during a hot summer or fall day, especially if there's a lack of hydration, could have one of your coaches at risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke — and perhaps an associated workers' compensation claim. Take steps to prevent prolonged exposure to the sun through means such as providing tents on the sidelines and even rescheduling practices when the weather is excessively hot and sunny.
For more information, contact local professionals like those found at Dawson & Associates, LLC.