Athletic directors are responsible for creating and protecting a safe and educational sports experience across their districts.
To do this, they need to make sure that authorized students (i.e., those who have submitted all of their forms) are allowed to participate. And at the same time, they need to ensure unauthorized students (i.e., students who haven’t submitted forms, have medical conditions, or have recently suffered a concussion) are not allowed to participate.
With many moving parts in the average sports program, it can be difficult to stay on top of everything.
Here are some of the more common mistakes districts make with respect to athletic clearance forms—and how you can fix them.
1. Misplacing Paper Forms
Despite rapid technological advances in recent years, many districts still rely on the same paper forms they’ve used forever. This outdated system leads to lots of frustration as stakeholders spend valuable time searching for misplaced paper forms.
But there’s an easy fix: using an online system like FinalForms (more on that later).
2. Liability Risk Due to Incomplete Forms
Without the right system in place, school districts tend to amass incomplete forms, which can expose them to a number of risks, including increased liabilities.
In general, missing information leads to assumptions. For example, a district might be missing health information about a student athlete, such as a pre-existing condition. If student information is missing, a coach may assume that student does not have a pre-existing condition and first responders may not be able to assist appropriately.
3. Compliance Issues Due to Incomplete Forms
Similarly, districts can expose themselves to compliance issues with common athletic clearance form mistakes—such as letting an athlete play sports without having a physical.
To ensure your district achieves 100 percent form compliance, make sure that non-native English speakers can understand forms, too. An easy way to do that is by using an online platform that enables you to easily offer stakeholders the option to complete a form in their preferred language.
4. Decreased Safety
Districts also expose themselves to potential safety liabilities when they don’t have completed forms in place. In general, missing information leads to assumptions. For example,, a coach may assume a student does not have a pre-existing condition and first responders may not be able to assist appropriately during a medical emergency.
Depending on how bad the situation gets and the mindset of the parents, such a scenario could open the door to litigation.
5. Wasting Time
As athletic directors and their staff know too well, a lot of time is spent reprinting forms, collecting them, and tracking them down. Not only is manual data entry a productivity killer, but it can also lend itself to data-entry errors and additional inefficiencies.
Although this is more pronounced in paper-based environments, some online form systems bring their own pain points to the mix by adding unessential processes to form collection and distribution.
Staffers are not the only ones affected by inefficient athletic clearance form processes—a parent with multiple athletes in school might have to fill out the same information over and over again.
FinalForms can bring more efficiency to the process, delegating responsibility without burdening anyone.
6. Privacy Violations
These days, privacy is perhaps more important than ever before. If sensitive information falls into the wrong hands, it can be broadcast to an untold number of people right away via the internet.
Relying on paper forms increases the chances that those forms will get misplaced. Fingers crossed that they don’t fall into the hands of the wrong individuals—which could lead to privacy violations and, potentially, lawsuits or other penalties.
How to Fix Common Mistakes on Athletic Clearance Forms
The good news is that these problems can easily be avoided by using a modern online forms system like FinalForms.
FinalForms can help districts like yours solve all of these problems while delivering benefits to all stakeholders. With FinalForms, you can easily see who’s submitted their forms and who hasn’t. With support for multiple languages and the ability to easily contact parents and guardians in the event of an emergency, FinalForms can help your district reduce its liabilities while improving the student-athlete experience.
What’s more, FinalForms was designed with the highest security standards in mind. Because of this, the platform gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing sensitive student data is secure—and only accessible to authorized individuals.
Beyond that, FinalForms can help you easily track which athletes have what equipment, and you’ll benefit from efficient form distribution, collection, and tracking.
Don’t Make Athletic Clearance Forms Harder Than They Need to Be
Managing all of these forms across an entire district can be tricky—especially when you don’t have the right tools or policies in place. With so much on the line, there’s no sense in making the process any harder than it needs to be.
Check out our new e-book, 20 Must-Have Online School Forms for K–12 Districts, to learn more about the must-have forms your district needs to improve the athletic experience for students, parents, coaches, and staffers alike.