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Preventing avoidable injury is the first obligation of adults who conduct and supervise youth sports events. The law plays only a limited role because lawsuits occur only after the injury. As the behavior of many parents and coaches has deteriorated, national youth sports governing bodies have produced materials that cast adults as role models and urge them to teach and practice sportsmanship and respect. These bodies should now recast these useful citizenship-based adult-education materials to stress also that adherence to sportsmanship and respect helps prevent injuries that can occur when adults acting irresponsibly neutralize national safety standards. Protective equipment is designed and playing rules are conceived with sound medical advice at the national level, but young athletes wear equipment and compete at the local level.



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