The general view of the courts is that sports are physical and sometimes dangerous and you are responsible for taking that risk. However, that doesn't mean another player or coach or referee cannot be held liable if you are seriously injured.
Proving that the defendant acted intentionally or recklessly will depend on the facts and other factors such as whether the action is what is acceptable or routine in that particular sport. For example, brushing into a player as they slide into home base is typical but tripping the player is not. The facts of your case and the range of normal activity in the particular sport you were playing will be used to prove intent.
Full contact sports are another exception all their own. For these sports, the standard is intentional or completely beyond normal activity for that particular sport. Full contact sports include football, hockey and boxing, where physical contact is actually an element of the game. So, if you were seriously injured during a football game, you would have to prove that the defendant's actions were intentional or that the defendant's actions went completely beyond what is acceptable in that particular sport.
It is believed that holding non-participants like a coach or a referee accountable for negligence would negatively affect the sport as a whole. Still, the standard is that these non-participants owe a duty to not harm others. Coaches are expected to provide instruction on safety and referees are expected to stop a game when they see a violation. If you believe a coach failed to provide safe instructions or if you believe a referee allowed a violation to continue that led to your injury, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Again, it will depend on the facts of the case and the expectations of the particular sport.
If your child was injured while playing a sport at school or at another facility, the school, team, coach or facility may liable depending on the circumstances. If the playing field or area was not properly maintained, it could be a negligence issue. If, as noted above, the players were not properly supervised or the referees were not calling violations or another player intentionally harmed your child, you could have a case based on the above noted law. Either way, you should speak to an attorney as soon after your child receives medical attention.
Finding the right sports injury attorney
As with all areas of law, there are time limits to filing your case. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible to review your options.