Dangerous Play - after defending

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Last week a women on my team was stationary, awaiting a throw to her in the endzone. She was wide open. While the disc was in the air, a much larger male defender came running at her full out. He managed to swat the disc out of the air just before she could catch it (she would have been able to catch it otherwise).

He then barrelled her over (while she was standing still), landed on top of her and injured her.

She called a foul. They "contested" it.

The defender's claim was that he did foul her, but it didn't impact the outcome of the play (since he swatted the disc first). So the uncontested foul should not have been a point. [similar to a foul away from the play, doesn't impact a catch]

My team thought it should be a point, if uncontested. Therefore the defender contested the foul, and the disc went back to the thrower.

What should have been the outcome?


Well, first, the outcome cannot result in a point being scored, since it is not a foul resulting in a loss of possession. Even though the player probably would have caught it, she did not actually catch it.

A significant collision with a stationary opponent sounds like a textbook "dangerous play" foul. By itself, that would mean sending the disc back to the thrower, according to the Continuation Rule, even if uncontested.

If, in addition to that, you could categorize this as being a uncontested receiving foul as well, then the receiver would gain possession in the endzone (although not a point). Off the top of my head, I'm not sure that can be done here, because I'm not completely sure the criteria for a receiving foul were satisfied. Was she making an attempt on the disc, and did he interfere with that attempt? Hm. I can see arguments for both sides.

So my suspicion is that the disc would have to be returned to the thrower, whether uncontested or not. I can still see an argument for letting her have the disc. Either way, a point would not have been awarded.

I'd like to hear Mark's thoughts.

The thing that bugs me is that saying that it did not affect the play isn't true. In order for him to make a play on the disc, he has to run her over. If you have to foul someone to make a play on a disc, I would say that certainly affects the play, whether you touch the disc first or not.

I dunno. Maybe occupying a stationary position *was* her attempt at the disc. It's great strategy to seal a defender when the disc is in the air. The (generally accepted) interpretation of the rule that allows this relies on a rather broad interpretation "making a play on the disc". Sounds like she either had him at least partially sealed (he couldn't defend it without potentially dangerous contact), or he simply didn't have the skill to D it safely.

Aside from a possible discussion about revising the rules, I'm not sure why anyone would be dissecting the rules to try to justify this type of play. As presented, it seems pretty clear to me the play was dangerous : someone got hurt. Was she just supposed to get out of the way and give up her attempt? If she was looking up, did she even have this as an option?

Isn't it part of the intent of the rules to make the sport safe from this sort of thing?

I think the rules are pretty clear as far as this situation goes. No need for any interpretation. It even gives a specific example.

XVI.H.4. Reckless disregard for the safety of fellow players or other dangerously aggressive behavior (such as significantly colliding into a stationary opponent), regardless of whether or when the disc arrives or when contact occurs is considered dangerous play and is treated as a foul. This rule is not superseded by any other rule.

So if the player was truly stationary, she has every right to continue to occupy that space without someone crashing into her regardless of whether or not the other player made contact with the disc before the collision. It should have been her disc in the endzone (not a point) where it gets checked in and she walks it to the endzone line taps it in and play on. I don't see where the continuation rule would come in as someone stated.

I don't think anyone disputes that this was a foul. Based on the description, it even sounds as though the defender was "contesting" the proposed outcome instead of the foul call itself. He maybe just didn't know how to articulate his thoughts at the time.

The question at hand is regarding the outcome of the stoppage. For that, we turn to the Continuation Rule, which applies for all infractions.

In this case, XVI.C.2.b.1 tells us what to do:
"If the infraction affected the play (XVI.C.3), play stops and the disc reverts to the thrower unless the specific rule says otherwise."

So, the only way the offensive player can be awarded the disc in this scenario is if, in addition to a dangerous play foul, this constituted a receiving foul as well. Uncontested receiving fouls specify that the disc is awarded to the fouled player instead of the thrower.

If the D and collision occurred nearly simultaneously, I'd be more likely to classify the play as both types of foul at once and to give her the disc. If there was some time separating the two events, I'd be more inclined to say that while outcome of the play was affected, the attempt was not, and so I'd tend to give the disc to the thrower. I think we'd be splitting hairs in debating it, though. I hesitate only because I did not witness said events.

Heck, when I think about it, I'd just ask the player, "Were you making an attempt on the disc?" If she so much as put her arms out for the catch, she'd be justified in saying so. Then I'd call it a dangerous play + receiving foul and give her the disc.

Sorry about the late chime-in, but some of us may be interested...

The SRC (the folks who 'write' the rules, for those of you that don't know) discussed this
over the past year. We intend to address this in the next version of the rules, and in the
meanwhile, for some reason have not communicated our logic yet as an interim "how the
game is intended to be played" bit of guidance.

But I'll give it to you anyway, because it is perfectly relevant to this situation...

Yes, it is correct as stated earlier that, as the rules are currently parsed, the dangerous play
rule does not give good guidance on whether this would be considered a receiving foul or a
normal foul, and it may not literally meet the current receiving foul verbiage.


The SRC suggest (and/or will be) that if the fouled person would have had a play on the
disc, except for the _entire_ dangerous play (which is much more than just the contact
itself), then they would be awarded the disc, just as if it had been a receiving foul.

It's not enough for the disc to have been swatted away and unplayable (including 2nd
attempts) prior to the contact, but rather would the person have had a chance if the
dangous play wouldn't have happened.

Counter to that, though, if the disc still wouldn't have been playable (e.g., sailing way
overhead or already going OB), then not a receiving-type foul, and rather just a normal

And for those with Nationals aspirations, this is currently how the Observers resolve it, and
how they were directed to call it last year. The Observer in the masters final (not me)
resolved one of these this way (correctly), and I recall the stands were not very supportive
of the call. But the defensive high-air layout completely flattened the intended receiver just
after the disc was swatted away, and the flattened player was awarded the disc. Sure it
was a very athletic defensive play, but it was also very dangerous, and so should not have
been made. Should have also resulted in a TMF (missed it, I guess), and will definitely be
this coming year.


But remember folks, if you can't figure it out on the field, and can't remember the rules or
any supplemental guidance, just send it back. Not enough people can do that easily without
getting upset or taking it personally. Seriously... Some people react like the others are
trying to kill their parents or something... Just send it back and get on with the game.

"Seriously... Some people react like the others are trying to kill their parents or something... Just send it back and get on with the game."

Ain't that the truth!?!?! LOL!!! Well said, Mortakai, and thanks for the insight from the SRC.

Mort: would it still be considered a foul if the contact wasn't necessarily dangerous (eg: not at top speed), but "required" in order to make a play on the disc? Essentially, if what was outlined in this post had happened minus the dangerous element, is it still a receiving/general foul?

If it's not dangerous play (i.e., not reckless disregard for safety or potentially injurious),
then if the disc is already swatted away, and the receiver no longer has ANY attempt
whatsoever (including second chances, or a potential greatest attempt), then that no longer
meets the definition of a receiving foul.

Yes it's still a (general) foul---assuming the player's ability to continue play has been
affected---and play stops while the player(s) recover (e.g., from being off-balance or spun
around). But it's no longer a receiving foul and the player should not be awarded the disc.

In other words, the D still stands.

Seems strange that you can make a play on a disc that results in a collision and have that D stand. If someone jumps, swats the disc in midair, then lands on me, and I had a potential play on the disc, I would think that should be a receiving foul, as the foul (or rather, the actions that caused the foul) resulted in my not being able to play the disc.

XVII. Positioning

B. A player who jumps is entitled to land at the take-off spot without hindrance by opponents. That player also is entitled to land at another spot, provided that the landing spot, and the direct path between the take-off and landing spots, were not already occupied at the time of take-off.

c) Blocking Fouls:
(2) A player may not take a position that is unavoidable by a moving opponent when time, distance and line of sight are considered.

So if a player jumps up and forward to catch a disc, and a defending player moves (after the player has jumped) to an unavoidable spot where the airborne player will land, a spot that was unoccupied at the time of lift-off, this should not be considered a foul on the receiving player, right? Would this also be considered a dangerous play, since the airborne player couldn't avoid the defending player?

Hey Ninja,

It may seem strange because, under 10th Ed. rules, yours was a fairly common interpretation of fouls and the Continuation Rule. The use of "affecting the play" and "affected the outcome" was not particularly strict in the wording. Also, receiving fouls were broadly defined to encapsulate the entire "process" of making an attempt on the disc and it was also more difficult to distinguish "incidental contact" from "harmful endangerment" (which is kinda funny, when you think about it).

But yeah, anyway, under the current set of rules, a foul following a clean attempt on a disc does not necessarily invalidate the outcome of the attempt, even if that foul was somewhat related. In many ways, I think the new language makes the game considerably more playable, because it makes room for a little more forgivable contact (that is to say, as long as it is not reckless).


If player A unavoidably moves into player B's landing spot, it is a blocking foul on player A. If player A's movement also interferes with player B's reception attempt on the disc, it is additionally a receiving foul on player A.

The above statements still do not necessarily constitute "reckless disregard" -- that would take an additional subjective judgement on a case-by-case basis. If player A took out player B at the legs in a movement that made me ask, "What the Hell were you trying to do!?" then it would be a fairly easy call.

Please take these statements with a grain of salt, because unless player A is floating on an extraordinarily athletic parabolic arc, these events probably occurred too fast to readily point fingers of blame. Events could just as easily have unfolded such that player B took off so that landing on player A was predetermined. It could also be that player B's arc invaded player A's vertical airspace and interfered with player A's attempt on the disc (which would have constituted a receiving foul on player B, instead).

Hey IN... I may have misunderstood your question before... But now you've used the word,
"collision", and someone landing ON you, whereras those weren't in your original question.

I have this huge question... How is a collision (I'm picturing a significant one or I wouldn't
use that word) or how is someone landing on you NOT a dangerous play?

"Hey dude you totally landed on me and wiped me out, that was a dangerous play"

Spin me around a little, or knock my arm... Sure... But land ON me? Dangerous.

... of course, that's not the same in the case where I moved under him after he was
already airborne and committed to that spot, and we weren't both vying for the unoccupied