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What Conduct by a Coach Goes Over The Line? Corporal Punishment in Youth Sports

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


In California and other States, parents enroll their children in athletic and youth sports programs. Most volunteers and coaches truly have the best interest of the children in mind when coaching, teaching, and mentoring the children enrolled in the sports program. Children enrolled in youth sports programs often learn valuable life and social lessons in team work, problem solving, strategy, and sportsmanship. Unfortunately, some coaches (especially ones in competitive athletic programs) go “over the line” when attempting to build winning teams.

In some instances, there is an issue or close call as to what acts or actions “go over the line”. At other times, the abuse, neglect, hazing, or humiliation is quite clear. Just because a volunteer or coach has the ability or track record of building champions does not mean that that the coach should be given free reign to harm physically and / or emotionally a child enrolled in the sports program.

Most organized sports programs have guidelines that should be followed as to practice schedules, team management, and codes of conduct. In addition, basic common sense and good judgment should be part of decisions made by coaches and volunteers working in a youth sports program.

In Sacramento, California, a coach / operator of a preparatory basketball sports youth program was recently arrested for allegations related to child abuse. It was reported that four student players were restrained during practice sessions. Furthermore, some students / players were punished by clipping clothespins on the chest of the students / players. Enrollment in the basketball program came at a price of $10,000 (tuition) and $5,000 (boarding). The specific criminal charges that the administrator – Francis Amiteye Ngissah – could face include false imprisonment, battery, and cruel corporal punishment. For more information regarding this story – See Administrator of Preparatory Basketball Program Arrested in Sacramento California.

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