Guest JL Posted May 22, 2007 Report Share Posted May 22, 2007 By JAMES FANELLI and MIKE SCHOLL May 20, 2007 -- She won't let it slide. A Staten Island mom is blaming her son's injury during a Little League game on a bum education in base-running. 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. Martin's coach, Leigh Bernstein, the New Springville Little League, and its international umbrella organization, Little League Baseball and Softball Inc., are all named as defendants in the suit, which charges them with never teaching him "skills needed to avoid and/or minimize the risks of injury," specifically how to run bases and slide. News of the suit shocked the league, with some parents calling it frivolous and saying injuries are part of the game. "I think it's kind of funny," Tricia Gregoretti said last week at New Springville's ball field while watching her 6-year-old son play. "It just doesn't make sense." New Springville league President Luis Mojica expressed dismay that a lawsuit would target a program that introduces youngsters to the national pastime. "All we do is provide a place for kids to play," said Mojica. "We're a community service." He added that New Springville meets Little League safety standards, including the required foam bases that lessen the risk of injuries to players. Bernstein was also surprised by the suit. "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." Despite the exhaustive training, injuries do occur, said Little League Baseball spokesman Chris Downs. "You can instruct players thoroughly on techniques. That does not necessarily mean that the proper technique will be used in a game," he said. Downs stressed the low number of Little League injuries. An average of 10,000 games are played each night and less than 1 percent of injuries that occur require medical treatment at a hospital, Downs said. Source... Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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