Risk Management in Sports, Leisure & Entertainment

Sports and recreation are institutions of American culture. Athletes from all different backgrounds visit gyms, fields, arenas and other facilities to participate in sports every day. Many administrators and coaches around the world agree that excellent positive socialization and physical fitness skills are learned through participation in sport. Successful participation in sports can also help a child develop exceptional leadership and teamwork skills, self-motivation and a lifelong interest in fitness. However, these positive experiences are also accompanied by a range of risks. 

Today's society tends to sue first and ask questions later. It is no longer enough to be in the right. You have to be perceived to be doing everything in your power to prevent any kind of personal or property liability or financial loss when people are participating in your organization's activities. Whether it involves attending a dance or party run by your organization, playing on a playground or hosting athletic events, you need to be aware of the risk management policies and procedures that should be used to help prevent loss and/or liability. 

Risk management is a priority because: (a) it is the right, ethical thing to do to protect your participants and (b) it is the most beneficial tool necessary to protect yourself and your organization. 

Risk management has always been a key element for the sports and recreation industry to address. Demonstrating exceptional risk management practices will assist in reducing the level of sports and recreation industry-related injuries and the number of negligence claims. It is extremely important that everyone involved in the execution of a risk management plan has a basic understanding of the law and how it applies to negligence in the sports and recreation field. 

Risk Management is: 

  • The art and science of identifying, analyzing and responding to risk factors throughout the life of a project and in the best interests of its objectives.

  • The act of being proactive in preventing emergency situations instead of being reactive to dangerous situations.

  • The formal process whereby risk factors are systematically identified, assessed and provided for.

Risk management is everyone's responsibility, it is an investment in the future success of your organization or association and a necessary tool for today and into the future.