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Legal Consequences of Using Homemade or Modified Exercise Equipment in Adapted Physical Education

Tim P. Mead, Brett D. Bruininks, Dennis J. Guillot, Catharine A. Rudnicki


Homemade or modified exercise equipment in K-12 adapted physical education (APE) is common in the classroom in order to meet the unique physical activity needs of students with disabilities. APE teachers often use or adapt supplies and materials to provide cheaper and more appropriate physical activity equipment to their learners. However, APE teachers generally do not consider the legal consequences of what could happen with this modified or homemade equipment, particularly if someone were to be injured using the device. To examine the overall issue, numerous legal cases and decisions where students and/or clients were injured using exercise equipment, some modified or homemade, and the court decisions following trial are discussed. In conclusion, the authors determined that properly constructed homemade or modified equipment can be used with students who are disabled as long as the risks of using the equipment are clearly explained to the student and guardian and consent is obtained.

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Adapted physical education; homemade equipment; modified equipment; physical education lawsuits

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