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Author Topic: Did school discriminate against pregnant volleyball player?
philnotfil
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Can you really call this discrimination? How much will the school have to pay out if it is found guilty of discrimination? How much more would the school have to pay out if it let the girl play and she had a miscarriage?

Two artices:
babble.com

quote:
When teen honor student Mackenzie McCollum got pregnant, she figured she’d work out the stress on the volleyball court. Then her school kicked her off the team.

Thanks to a mom who isn’t going to take the discrimination case lying down, McCollum’s Texas’ high school is under investigation for violating Title IX, which guarantees pregnant athletes protection under the law.

Investigated by ESPN’s Outside the Lines (tip of the hat to Feministing for alerting us here at Babble), the issue circles around the Arlington Heights High School assumption that pregnancy constitutes an injury. In order to stay on the team, McCollum had to produce a doctor’s note proving she could play.

When the doctor cleared her with the condition that she keep her heart rate relatively low, the school said no deal - even though she’s a setter on the volleyball team and the doctor said he thought she’d be fine. So he wrote a second note clearing her completely, and the school had to relent. But the coach docked her playing time anyway, which representatives of the Women’s Law Center note constitute retaliation.

mcclatchydc.com

quote:
The player, 17-year-old Mackenzie McCollum of Arlington Heights, was a starting setter until the school discovered she was pregnant on Oct. 7, according to Laura S. Kaufmann, a lawyer with Washington-based National Women's Law Center, which represents McCollum.

She was 10 weeks pregnant at the time.

School officials told McCollum that she needed a doctor's note clearing her to play. Kaufmann says the district violated Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits sex-based discrimination at schools receiving federal money.

"She's a top student, a musician and a star volleyball player on the varsity team," Kaufmann said. "She got pregnant and when the athletic coordinator at the school found out, she was told she couldn't play anymore on the team.

"And they demanded that if she did want to play, she had to produce a note from her doctor clearing her to play. But it's not clear that they are applying that condition to all athletes, and that's one of the things Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 requires."


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scifibum
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Sounds like a novel test of Title IX?

But yeah, you can call that discrimination. The question is whether it's illegal discrimination. [Smile]

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RickyB
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""And they demanded that if she did want to play, she had to produce a note from her doctor clearing her to play. But it's not clear that they are applying that condition to all athletes, and that's one of the things Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 requires."

Every organized athletic endeavor I've ever heard of requires doctor clearance whether you're pregnant or not. I didn't grow up in the US (well, I did tןll age 8.5. Not relevant to the issue of school athletics) so I don't know, but don't they ask you for a doctor's clearance when you sign up for varsity sports? What's this lawyer on about? I agree - what if she miscarries on the court? Is the school on the hook? Especially without a doctor's note. Had they told her "we don't approve of students getting pregnant and therefore won't let you play" - that's a no-no. But asking for a doctor's clearance? Elementary.

[ December 08, 2009, 02:01 AM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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hobsen
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Similar problems have happened before on the college level:
quote:
The problems became a national issue when Clemson and Memphis students said they lost scholarships over their pregnancies. The report included interviews with seven Clemson University students who said they felt coerced into having abortions to keep the athletic money.
quote:
Clemson later acknowledged that women's track coach Marcia Noad gave students a policy saying, "Pregnancy resulting in the inability to compete and positively contribute to the program's success will result in the modification of your grant-in-aid money."
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1958480/posts

In this case the high school seems to have made an effort to find out and comply with the law; and I agree asking for a doctor's opinion - and probably wiavers of liability from her and from her parents - would be reasonable. All pregnancies are not alike, and the school has a right to worry hers might be high risk for some reason. But they initially turned her down completely, may have stalled for half the season, and even in the end the coach docked her playing time after being assured she was completely fit to play. In effect the coach was practicing medicine without a license, claiming to know more about what would be good for her than her own doctor. So she has a case, although the outcome may serve more as a warning to other schools than bring much benefit to her personally. At least the coach did not tell her flatly to go get an abortion if she wanted to play.

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cherrypoptart
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I don't know why this sounds so silly when it's probably very serious. I'm sure pregant women need their exercise and in most cases there is nothing wrong with that and some light volleyball seems fine (always check with your doctor! - mandatory disclaimer), but is a pregnant lady really supposed to dive for that ball hitting the floor belly first and hard like you might have to in competitive volleyball?

Just being fatuous now (that's the word of the day), but since a fetus can be considered a seperate person, wouldn't that put too many players on the court for one of the teams?

And here a word from our legal department: perhaps in addition to the advice of a physician, a legal release form is also in order to limit the liability of the institution for injury to the fetus or lady. However, if anything did happen, having a signed release form or waiver isn't always foolproof and even if it was just not getting sued probably wouldn't make very many people feel any better about the miscarriage.

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RickyB
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That's a different issue, Hobsen - I would object to terminating a scholarship due to pregnancy. But the team can't put her on the court, to dive as cherry pointed out belly first into the parquet, without medical clearance. A pregnancy is most certainly a medical condition requiring different standards of care and caution. But it is possible to separate the issue of actual participation in the game from the issue of the scholarship. If schools want to secure themselves from having to give free rides to pregnant athletes, they can put that in the scholarship agreement. If it's not there, you can't revoke the scholarship for it.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
""And they demanded that if she did want to play, she had to produce a note from her doctor clearing her to play. But it's not clear that they are applying that condition to all athletes, and that's one of the things Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 requires."

Every organized athletic endeavor I've ever heard of requires doctor clearance whether you're pregnant or not. I didn't grow up in the US (well, I did tןll age 8.5. Not relevant to the issue of school athletics) so I don't know, but don't they ask you for a doctor's clearance when you sign up for varsity sports? What's this lawyer on about? I agree - what if she miscarries on the court? Is the school on the hook? Especially without a doctor's note. Had they told her "we don't approve of students getting pregnant and therefore won't let you play" - that's a no-no. But asking for a doctor's clearance? Elementary.

According to the excerpts above, she had not one, but two notes from her doctor saying she could play.

[ December 08, 2009, 07:37 AM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by cherrypoptart:
I don't know why this sounds so silly when it's probably very serious. I'm sure pregant women need their exercise and in most cases there is nothing wrong with that and some light volleyball seems fine (always check with your doctor! - mandatory disclaimer), but is a pregnant lady really supposed to dive for that ball hitting the floor belly first and hard like you might have to in competitive volleyball?



Something is seriously wrong if you're doing that as a setter. You should be on the second bump, making sure that the ball is well under control for a spike.

[ December 08, 2009, 07:37 AM: Message edited by: Pyrtolin ]

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cherrypoptart
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She got the doctors' okay. What about signing a release of liability? Does that also include the other people she is playing with so if they bump into her, trip, fall, or what have you and knock her down or spike a volleyball right into her womb (yeah, I know that'd have to be a heckuva shot) they aren't legally liable for a miscarriage?

> Something is seriously wrong if you're doing that as a setter. You should be on the second bump, making sure that the ball is well under control for a spike.

Oh, don't I know that only too well... but unfortunately, it happens. Actually, I have no idea what you're talking about. I was still thinking that people rotate. "Rotate!" I still remember them saying that during volleyball games in school.

Is there some irony here that she has to sue to get to play, using the same legal system that because of liability issues and fear of lawsuits refuses or is hesitant to let her play? Yes, I think there is some irony in that.

Nowadays, sometimes you have to pull a Bush with a pre-emptive lawsuit. Sue them first before they sue you. Wouldn't it be funny if the school ended up having to pay out some multi-million dollar award for damages including emotional distress and what have you for not letting pregnant ladies play because they were afraid they'd have to pay out multimillion dollar judgments if they let pregnant ladies play and one had a miscarriage?

Sometimes, you just can't win...

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by cherrypoptart:
What about signing a release of liability?

Those things are almost worthless. A lot of people (not necessarily you) are under the impression that this will protect them from liability in the event someone gets hurt. No, it won't. You can't sign away your rights. No matter what waiver this girl or her parents sign, they can't sign off on the child's rights. Someone being negligent is still liable even if you signed such a waiver - and the gray area for what is negligent is a pretty dark shade of grey - like charcoal. Any remotely competent ambulance chancer can get a case made that will work for a judge or a jury. For that matter, it doesn't even need to be your fault.

Take this case. Yes, she got 2 doctor's notes and she want's to play. She may even sign some waiver (or her parents may since she's a minor). Can we guarantee she won't get injured? Of course not. Can we guarantee that something won't occur that will injure the child? No way. It all happens at a school sponsored event on school property with rather significant school supervision and given all the hoopla you know damn well the school was aware there there might be such risks - and decided to ignore them. Now, a child is dead (assuming worst case scenario for the infant). Or, what if he's born with a defect? How's that gonna play? You know how it will, it's not like we haven't seen it already.

The school knows this, that's why they fight it. The reality is, such a thing would never go to court because the penalties could be potentially huge. This would settle out of court with the school's insurance company for a few hundred thousand probably, maybe a couple of million with a good lawyer. The cynical among us should recognize that her pregnancy is a potential lottery ticket.

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Gaoics79
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quote:
Those things are almost worthless.
Sad but true. Most waivers aren't worth the paper they're printed on, especially when minors are involved. And if the fetus ever turns into a legal person with real injuries, good luck enforcing it against him/her.

I'm no doctor, but I've got to echo what Cherry said: what if she does fall on her belly? The liability issue is just too great.

This girl is, I guess, just another victim of the crazy out-of-control tort system.

I'm assuming, of course, that they banned her for legal liability purposes. If these guys were just a bunch of bible thumpers seeking to sanction her for getting pregnant, then obviously that changes things!

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IrishTD
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Couple of quick hits:

1) Was there any type of behavioral policy/code of conduct for volleyball players? These were pretty standard practice last I knew.

2) Athletic scholarships (grants-in-aid) can be revoked/modified for about anything a coach wants to do. Generally, they are year-to-year renewable, nothing more. If the NCAA wants to fix anything, that would be a good place to start.

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RickyB
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This would be far from the first time that a school barred someone from participating in something due to a medical condition. That the condition in question happens to be female-specific is incidental.
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RickyB
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If she has a doctor's note it's more murky. I'm not a lawyer and don't understand why waivers aren't binding. Sign the parents too. Aren't there like poison pill waivers, where you expose yourself to a huge suit if you sue, and not just "pledge not to sue". I don't understand why that wouldn't be enforceable.
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Gaoics79
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quote:
If she has a doctor's note it's more murky. I'm not a lawyer and don't understand why waivers aren't binding. Sign the parents too. Aren't there like poison pill waivers, where you expose yourself to a huge suit if you sue, and not just "pledge not to sue". I don't understand why that wouldn't be enforceable.
Around these parts, waivers have to be explicit and attention has to be drawn to the person signing them. Even then, courts will do incredible acrobatics to avoid enforcing them.

Moreover, a parent's waiver with respect to a child is useless; a parent can't sign away the child's right of action should the child be injured. Now whether the child can do so or not is an interesting question; I suspect a child can if he/she is old enough to appreciate the consequences, but again, I think a court would be even more inclined to backflip through hula-hoops to avoid enforcing that kind of waiver in the case of a minor.

On top of that, if the fetus is damaged, one could forsee the eventual child suing. Nothing the mother or the grandparents signed could close that particular door.

The doctor's note helps of course, but then again, if the kid is injured badly enough the doctor might just end up getting sucked in himself / herself. Then you could foresee a food fight between the doctor and the school over who is more culpable.

I don't blame the school for not wanting to walk into this minefield.

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by jasonr:
[QUOTE] Moreover, a parent's waiver with respect to a child is useless; a parent can't sign away the child's right of action should the child be injured. Now whether the child can do so or not is an interesting question; I suspect a child can if he/she is old enough to appreciate the consequences, but again, I think a court would be even more inclined to backflip through hula-hoops to avoid enforcing that kind of waiver in the case of a minor.

The child cannot sign away his rights not have them signed away. G2 has seen it tried in the case of an inheritance settlement. The court took over in the best interests of the child until he turned 18 ... or maybe 21, G2 forgets the exact age limit.
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DonaldD
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Umm... that would be "The G2" to you.
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G2
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G2 answers to both. In the interest of brevity, they will be considered equivalent. Is G2 not generous!
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Greg Davidson
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Let me just say that the jumping-on-belly-results-in-miscarriage theory is not dissimilar from the falling-downstairs-causes-miscarriage theory. neither of which are very high risks. Embryos are pretty well protected from blunt trauma, particularly something as broad as impacting a floor. More likely is that the mom-to-be surrounding the embryo will get hurt.

Of course, lack of exercise also puts a mother at risk, so will they weigh the consequences of that..? I wouldn't count on it.

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TommySama
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"Let me just say that the jumping-on-belly-results-in-miscarriage theory is not dissimilar from the falling-downstairs-causes-miscarriage theory. neither of which are very high risks."

Damn! I'm going to have to entirely rethink the thrift abortion option.

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RickyB
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Greg, c'mon. exercise is one thing and competitive sports another. I wouldn't mind if they said "you have to keep her on the team ad let her practice," I'd be down with that, but you can't force them to play her.

I would also say that the chance of falling on your belly during a volleyball game is significantly greater than that of falling down the stairs (unless you tend to run and skip down them, in which case the purposeful increase of risk would approach similarity).

Being that waivers are problematic, doubly so with minors, is the school really obligated to expose itself to something that while not a huge risk of happening, will cripple it if it does happen? Forget the school, what about the coach's personal responsibility? He decided to put her in the game, whereupon she got hurt! He suddenly finds himself, as @ThatKevinSmith would say, in a very actionable position....

Taking into account how little a volleyball coach in HS makes, I would personally probably quit rather than be forced to play a pregnant player in a competitive sporting event.

BTW, I asked my wife, who personally rode on the back of my scooter till week 32 or so, and she agrees with me. She has the right to say "I'm fine to play", and the school has the right to say "we respect your spirit, but we ain't gonna take the chance".

Now, if this is being done on the spirit of "you slut, we don't approve of 17 year olds doing what needs to be done to get pregnant" - that is of course most foul.

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Pyrtolin
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No, it's being done in the spirit of "Pregnant woman are delicate flowers who are effectively disabled," Which, as Greg pointed out, really isn't true. Unless she has direct complications, there's not much at all she could do in the reasonable context of volleyball until much later in the pregnancy that would have any significant risk to her- unless she's actively having blood pressure problems, there's no reason she can't function completely normally.
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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
No, it's being done in the spirit of "Pregnant woman are delicate flowers who are effectively disabled," Which, as Greg pointed out, really isn't true.

G2 seriously doubts that. G2 thinks it's being done in the spirit of "We aren't going to expose the school to that kind of liability".

quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
Unless she has direct complications, there's not much at all she could do in the reasonable context of volleyball until much later in the pregnancy that would have any significant risk to her- unless she's actively having blood pressure problems, there's no reason she can't function completely normally.

There's really not. G2 has personally seen pregnant women run marathons even long after they're showing (maybe 5-6 months in?). This girl probably can play without any problems.

But suppose a problem does occur? Obviously she's very competitive. Ever known a truly competitive athlete to lie about how they feel and their physical condition in order to get back into the game? Happens all the time in every sport (Real Sports on HBO recently did a big thing about that regarding concussions).

Any problem may or may not be related to her play on the court. It may only partially relate. If you think you could be held liable for any problem that occurs (or a least partially liable), how much of that risk do you want to assume? The reward for that risk is maybe (and G2 means maybe) you win a few high school volleyball games you might have otherwise lost. The penalty if it goes sour, hundreds of thousands of dollars, perhaps even millions. With those stakes, what would you do?

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RickyB
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stop this thread before I agree with Quintana again...
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by hobsen:
Similar problems have happened before on the college level:
quote:
The problems became a national issue when Clemson and Memphis students said they lost scholarships over their pregnancies. The report included interviews with seven Clemson University students who said they felt coerced into having abortions to keep the athletic money.
quote:
Clemson later acknowledged that women's track coach Marcia Noad gave students a policy saying, "Pregnancy resulting in the inability to compete and positively contribute to the program's success will result in the modification of your grant-in-aid money."
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1958480/posts

In this case the high school seems to have made an effort to find out and comply with the law; and I agree asking for a doctor's opinion - and probably wiavers of liability from her and from her parents - would be reasonable. All pregnancies are not alike, and the school has a right to worry hers might be high risk for some reason. But they initially turned her down completely, may have stalled for half the season, and even in the end the coach docked her playing time after being assured she was completely fit to play. In effect the coach was practicing medicine without a license, claiming to know more about what would be good for her than her own doctor. So she has a case, although the outcome may serve more as a warning to other schools than bring much benefit to her personally. At least the coach did not tell her flatly to go get an abortion if she wanted to play.

As for the waiver, the problem is that a minor's waiver of liability, like almost all contracts signed by a minor, can be rescinded up at will up to the day the minor turns 18. Dunno how the waiver would fly if signed by the parents, but it's not something I'd want to test-case as a defendant.

Other than that, I'd go totally with what Ricky said above.

[ December 11, 2009, 10:09 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Pete at Home
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Imagine that it was some condition other than pregnancy. Regardless of the condition, if doctors say it's OK so long as they keep their heartrate down, that should obviously bar the person from any competitive team sport.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
Can you really call this discrimination?

Yes, you can. That's what the word actually means in English -- to make a distinction. It's only in PC-speak that it's come to mean making distinctions which the powers that be have determined to be politically incorrect.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Imagine that it was some condition other than pregnancy. Regardless of the condition, if doctors say it's OK so long as they keep their heartrate down, that should obviously bar the person from any competitive team sport.

Except that the "it" is said competitive sport. She was specifically cleared as fit and safe to play the sport; there was no appreciable danger to her in participating.
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cherrypoptart
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She may be cleared by anybody and everybody but that's not going to stop a lawsuit if something happens.

http://overlawyered.com/2007/07/who-wins-from-lawsuit-abuse-hint-its-not-you-or-me/

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/regional/item_mZEnMQwL186G4LHzpowicP

"In a new twist on an old rite of passage, Jean Gonzalez is suing a beloved veteran coach for not teaching her son Martin how to slide properly, according to a lawsuit filed on May 4.

The litigation stems from an ill-fated play exactly three years earlier, when Martin, then 12, whacked his first hit of the season and was told to go for second by his first-base coach.

When he slid into second base, he suffered "serious bodily injury" that required multiple surgeries and caused "permanent scarring and disability," according to the suit filed in Staten Island Supreme Court. The suit did not specify the dollar amount of damages."

----------------------------------------

I wonder if a waiver could actually be counter-productive because as has been noted it isn't worth much anyway and the school insisting on it could even indicate that the school knew there was a danger and they let her play anyway.

It doesn't matter what the doctors say anymore. It's all about what the lawyers say, and they are saying, "you've been served."

As for the risk of volleyball in causing a miscarriage, any assertion that the risk is negligible is silly because miscarriages happen all the time and the reason is rarely if ever known. So what if the vollyball didn't cause it? Is that going to stop her from suing? And proving what caused it is also irrelevant when the costs of the lawsuit often outweigh the cost and simplicity of settling out of court.

If this volleyball player wants to sue anyone, she should sue the people like Jean Gonzalez who sue everybody for everything and make everyone rightfully scared out of their wits of lawsuits.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Imagine that it was some condition other than pregnancy. Regardless of the condition, if doctors say it's OK so long as they keep their heartrate down, that should obviously bar the person from any competitive team sport.

Except that the "it" is said competitive sport. She was specifically cleared as fit and safe to play the sport; there was no appreciable danger to her in participating.
Wrong. The doctors said, so long as she kept her heart rate down. That qualification negates the so-called clearance. They might as well have said so long as she stays on the bench.
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Pyrtolin
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"relatively low" was the exact quote. And team volley ball isn't exactly a highly aerobic sport, so that's not a very hard condition to meet, really.
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Pete at Home
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That phrase does not protects the school from liability under these facts, Pyrtolin.
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yossarian22c
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Volleyball isn't soccer or basketball but when played at a high level it is an aerobic sport. There is plenty of quick movement and excitement which can push the heart rate up. While setters generally shouldn't be diving it does happen from time to time on tips.

I saw a story about this case on ESPN. The coach let her play, he just limited her playing time. Previously she had played the full rotation but after the coach learned of her pregnancy the coach used her as a sub. Having a note from a doctor advising him to help keep her heart rate down having her sit every few rotations seems to be a reasonable precaution.

This coach was in a literally no win situation, he seemed to do the best he could but still got sued. I haven't seen anything to suggest that he tried to pass moral judgement but simply was concerned for her health (or concerned about being sued if something went wrong).

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The Drake
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I'm not a doctor, but I do play one on the internet. From various sources, such as WebMD:

quote:
There are certain exercises and activities that can be harmful if performed during pregnancy... Contact sports such as softball, football, basketball and volleyball.
From a blog:

quote:
I'm in my 3rd trimester! I am luckily feeling very well, although I've stopped playing volleyball because I've been more tired during the games and my knee has really been bothering me. I last played on Sunday night (the 13th) and my team did really well, so I was happy to end my season on a high note! The team we played against had a horrible attitude, though! Between plays, during a dead ball, one of them kicked the volleyball so that it almost hit me in my belly... Another woman on her team said, "That's what you get if you play volleyball pregnant."
Q&A

quote:
It's recommended during pregnancy to discontinue exercise that may cause collision and falling. Only you can tell if your volleyball playing fits into that category.
Considering the possibilities of running into a fellow player (even professional athletes can run into each other trying to save a ball that is struck between them), being exposed to dangerously poor sportsmanship, and general disagreement on the safety of volleyball while pregnant, I'd probably advise any friend of mine to consider the health of their fetus more important than their desire to play sports competitively.

Suing your coach for playing time is simply weak, in any case.

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RickyB
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You know what this is all about, it seems to me? Not gold digging, but this woman's determination that "being pregnant is not going to make a single difference in how I live my life". Well guess what? It sure as hell does, and if you think that sucks, wait till the pregnancy is over... Unless you plan to dump the kid on granma full time, that is, your life as you knew it will never be the same. Well, maybe not never, but for the next 2-3 years fo sho.
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Gaoics79
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quote:
Wrong. The doctors said, so long as she kept her heart rate down. That qualification negates the so-called clearance. They might as well have said so long as she stays on the bench.
Oh wow, I didn't notice that part.

Yeah, that doctor's note and a buck will buy the school a cup of coffee if there was a lawsuit. Even the doctor would probably get his ass sued if there was a serious injury.

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hobsen
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The National Women's Law Center probably wants to establish that the choice of a pregnant woman to take part in a particular high school athletic program is entirely her decision. They will be supported in this by Title IX, and no doubt by testimony from her doctor that the coach limited her play after he determined she was entirely fit to compete. And whether the doctor was correct in that depends in part on the level of competition involved, regarding which she and her doctor are probably better informed than others. Certainly she could be injured playing volleyball; but she could also be injured doing many other things pregnant woman do - like driving a car - so the school may have to establish that its particular volleyball program is exceptionally hazardous for pregnant women. And that that hazard gives them some legal right to forbid pregnant women from taking part in it. Perhaps they can do this, but it will be interesting to see what the courts decide.
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Pete at Home
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If things play out the way that hobsen decides, I think we'll see women's volleyball teams getting shut down across the nation. Way to go.
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hobsen
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So far as I know, high schools are required to offer athletic programs for girls if they offer them for boys. And while it would be better if no high school girls were pregnant, some will be - and these still have a right to participate in suitable activities. So the question is whether volleyball is suitable. But volleyball does not seem particularly dangerous, as it is not a contact sport and babies are quite well protected before birth, while the doctor's concern over heart rate suggests other sports like cross country might be a greater risk. Not to mention things like women's rugby, which is starting to become popular. So I think the courts will have to reach some decision on what to do in such cases, according to circumstances which differ for each student and each sport. Since for this reason no general rules can be laid down, my guess would be that schools will be obliged to accept the recommendation of the student's doctors, unless they have some countervailing medical opinion to offer. And they will probably be excused from legal liability when they are following a physician's recommendation. But just saying her doctors think the exercise would be good for the girl, but the school authorities think the sport dangerous, does not seem to me an argument most lawyers for a school district would relish bringing before a judge. And it would really annoy doctors too, who do not like school officials with no medical training ignoring their recommendations on matters of health. And no, I do not thing the decisions on this will be left entirely to 17-year-old girls, as schools have a legitimate concern both with legal liability and with psychological damage to other students if someone dies during competition. This girl probably has a right to risk her life and that of her unborn child in other activities, as by riding a horse or motorcycle, but that does not mean she has an unlimited right to do so in a school program on school property. But so far as I can see the law is still being developed on such matters, and only time will show what the courts finally do. But as a straw in the wind the lawyers for this Texas school district - and Texas is a notably conservative state - seem to have decided the district was legally compelled to let her play. This court case addresses the details of how that decision was implemented, not the underlying fact.

[ December 21, 2009, 12:28 AM: Message edited by: hobsen ]

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
"relatively low" was the exact quote. And team volley ball isn't exactly a highly aerobic sport, so that's not a very hard condition to meet, really.

"relatively low"? What does that even mean? "relatively low" is so vague as to be useless. But suppose a number was set (which would be a totally arbitrary one), should she be required to wear a heart rate monitor? Who's responsible for tracking her heart rate throughout practice and in games? Who's liable if she exceeds that rate and what is the procedure, legally as well as medically when she does? How long does the school have to keep the records of the monitored heart rate? What about a fetal heart rate monitor? Is that required?

"relatively low" opens up a huge can of worms.

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