A Staten Island mother is blaming a Little League coach for an injury involving her son three years ago. Jean Gonzalez's rationale? The coach didn't teach her son Martin how to slide properly.
"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."
Coach Leigh Bernstein was named in the lawsuit, along with the New Springville Little League, and Little League Baseball and Softball Inc., its international umbrella organization. The suit charges everyone involved with not teaching poor Martin the "skills needed to avoid and/or minimize the risks of injury."
Coach Bernstein was surprised to be hit with the lawsuit.
"I've been coaching for over 20 years, and have instructed players in the various skills required to play baseball, including sliding," he said. "Unfortunately, injuries happen. That's part of the game."
Why doesn't Gonzalez sue the company that makes the bases, or for that matter, the city, for making the infield dirt too hard. If only the dirt particles had not been compressed too closely together, maybe his landing would have been cushioned a bit, saving Martin some pain. What if he'd been injured by a pitch? Would she have sued the ball manufacturer? What about the catcher and his parents for calling an inside pitch?
Injuries unfortunately are just a part of sports. They happen. Especially in youth sports when the participants aren't as coordinated and developed physically as they will be later on in life. Even if techniques are taught correctly, it doesn't mean that they will be applied in the right manner. No matter what the level, mistakes are made, and what is practiced isn't always executed. But that's sports. That's why we play, that's why we cheer. It's a game.