Fair Weather Athletes?
It has been a mild winter this year and that has meant that all us budding athletes (perhaps, overripe is a better description these days) have had no excuses for interrupting our running training. But, just when it seemed safe to go out, a case gives a reminder of the obligations on those brave souls who attempt to co-ordinate group sporting activities. In the case of Cox v Dundee City Council, there was an outdoor training exercise in relation to junior rugby.
Firstly, there was a warm-up before, what the organisers termed would be, “dynamic skills exercises” (using management-speak which would doubtless have left the late Bill McLaren momentarily speechless). Nevertheless, we will never know from the report of the case what such exercises were because one of the participants sustained a nasty fracture to his left foot when side-stepping during the warm-up. What were the duties encumbent on the organisers with regards to underfoot conditions?
It was agreed that prior to any training session, a risk assessment of ground conditions was required and if there were any parts of the training area which were frozen or uneven or rutted, then the ground was unsuitable. The risk either had to be removed, blocked off or if this could not be satisfactorily done, the exercise cancelled. That would doubtless be unpopular, and you cannot help but think that rugby players boast about taking risks on the chin, but it is best to err on the side of caution if you are organizing such team sports.