A recent study led by J.O. Spengler, HK author of Introduction to Sport Law, Risk Management in Sport and Recreation, and co-author of Case Studies in Sport Law, has gained attention in the public health arena. The study looks at public schools as a low-cost option to provide communities with facilities that promote physical activity. Although school tracks, swimming pools, courts, and gymnasiums already exist, they are generally not available for public use after hours because of liability concerns.
In the study, Spengler and colleagues reviewed the recreational use statues in all 50 states and found that in some cases, liability protections could be improved with only minor legislative changes that would allow school facilities to benefit the entire community. According to Spengler, "Public schools have facilities that can help meet the physical activity needs of their surrounding communities. Statutes should therefore also reflect a legislative intent to encourage public schools to make their property available to the public for recreational use, recognizing the importance of physical activity to health."