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Case study: injury on the soccer field

This is an excerpt from Health Fitness Management-3rd Edition by Mike Bates,Mike Spezzano & Guy Danhoff.

During an adult soccer game, Sanjay Patel claimed that after he scored a goal, the goalkeeper from the opposing team charged him and tackled him by sliding into his leg. As a result of the sliding tackle, Patel suffered various injuries, including a broken right leg. Patel claimed that the opposing goalie could have avoided contact with his leg but that the goalie wanted to hit him. Two other people who saw the play, however, claimed that as Patel was striking the soccer ball, the goalie was falling down and sliding simultaneously while trying to grab the ball. As a result of his injuries, Patel sued the state soccer association and the local soccer complex for failing to properly train and properly supervise the officials that they provided to referee the game.


Consider the following questions as though you were on the jury.

  • Is the referee negligent for not protecting Patel from injury?
  • Does it matter whether Patel had previously complained about the goalie's play?
  • What additional facts would be helpful in determining whether the referee was an independent contractor or an employee?
  • If the referee is an employee, is the soccer complex liable for Patel's injury?
  • If so, why? If not, why not?