Professor Jack Anderson, of Queen’s University Belfast, who specialises in sports law, said the vast majority of parents do not realise they may have to pay the medical bills. He cited a recent survey by the HSE that one in three attending one of its minor injury units in 2016 — some 33,000 cases — presented with an injury suffered playing sport.

“To be fair, leading sports bodies provide overall cover, in terms of injury benefit or compulsory group schemes, but there are understandable restrictions on these, in terms of the type of club membership you have, when and where the injury occurs, the gravity of the injury, and the extent of payouts,” Prof Anderson said.

Some clubs have benefit funds and may incorrectly believe that this, combined with public liability insurance, can act as personal accident cover that would provide for injuries. “These schemes are not strictly insurance schemes, though, and sports governing bodies also ask clubs to be properly and adequately insured, and will provide them with access to discounts with favoured insurance partners. I can find no available data on the extent to which clubs avail of same,” he said.

“It could be said that parents have a responsibility, but, although it is not hugely expensive, having specific or top-up personal accident cover for your child’s sporting activities, outside of what you think their membership of that sport provides, is not something parents, including me, would necessarily have thought about,” Prof Anderson said.

Source: Irish Examiner