Sports Activity and Workers’ Compensation

It is important that member districts review their training guidelines and physical capacity requirements to ensure adherence with general workers’ compensation policies in the event that their employees engage in sports activities.

An injury incurred at your workplace does not necessarily qualify as a workers’ compensation claim. This is especially true when engaging in sports activities such as football, basketball, baseball, and soccer because the physical outcome of the activity is not measurable, according to workers’ compensation policies. According to Colorado statutes C.R.S. § 8-41-30, the intent of workers’ compensation is to make the industry responsible for workplace accidents only and not those resulting from hazards common to all. “Accidents” are injuries designated as such to distinguish them from intentional injuries and injuries caused by disease.

For physical exercise to be considered training and for qualification under workers’ compensation, the exercise must be supervised and have a defined and expected measurable outcome. For example, a firefighter who is required to run three miles while carrying a 50 lb. knapsack generally meets the criteria, because both the activity and the result are considered measurable. On the other hand, if employees are playing basketball or soccer, these activities are not considered “measurable and quantifiable” to course and scope of duty or training, and thus not generally compensable.

Of course, this is a simple overview of the subject matter. If you would like more information, have any questions concerning these guidelines, or would like assistance in updating your district’s policy, please contact the Pool or CTSI.

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