TUC Leagues Safety Update - Dangerous Plays

Due to a recent increase in the number of league incidents, we felt it was necessary to revisit the Dangerous Play Rule. Safety for our players needs to be a priority and we must continue to educate our membership.

There are a number of reasons why this is an issue:

  • Players are getting injured, where it not only affects their sporting careers but also their day-to-day life
  • These dangerous plays are affecting the way players view and play against certain teams
  • Some players will only play in certain formats because they are concerned for their safety
  • Other players are leaving our leagues or the sport altogether

League games are generally played according to a slightly modified version of the USAU 11th edition rules. USA Ultimate has recently completed revisions and updates to the Official Rules of Ultimate of which includes the Dangerous Play Rule.

The first point of section 17.I. (Fouls) reads: “It is the responsibility of all players to avoid contact in every way possible”. It is our belief as TUC leagues operators that “I didn’t see them” or “I didn’t know they were there” is not a valid excuse for initiating contact with another player. No defensive or offensive play on a disc is worth an injury to a player due to contact that occurs during the play.


The Dangerous Play Rule:

  1. Actions demonstrating reckless disregard for the safety of or posing a significant risk of injury to fellow players, or other dangerously aggressive behavior are considered "dangerous play" and are treated as a foul. The proper call in such circumstances is "dangerous play" and play stops. This rule is not superseded by any other rule.
    1. Dangerous play is considered a foul regardless of whether or when the disc arrives or contact occurs.
      1. The vast majority of dangerous play will involve contact between players. However, contact is not required for a player to invoke this rule where there is reasonable certainty that contact would have occurred had the player not taken steps to avoid contact.

The Dangerous Play Call can be contested or uncontested like any other foul. Consider your opponent’s perspective. If a call is made against you, instead of taking it personally, recognize that there is a reason the call was made and acknowledge. If you are making the call or feel like a dangerous play was committed, act with the assumption that the opposing player did so unintentionally, or due to lack of experience. You have a responsibility to educate the offending player as to why the dangerous play call is being made.


Below is a list of some common examples of dangerous play. Note that dangerous plays can be committed by both offensive and defensive players.

  • blindside defensive plays
    • Offensive player making an upline cut in front of the thrower to retrieve the disc
    • A defending player (who is not guarding the player cutting upline) leaves the player they are guarding downfield and attempts to make a play on the disc
    • The defending player is coming from a space that the offensive player cannot reasonably see due to where the disc is being thrown from
  • creating contact to make a play on a disc you have no business going for
  • running, jumping or laying out into a space that is already occupied by another player or where it is likely that a significant collision will result
  • jumping or otherwise leaving the ground where it is likely that a significant collision will result,
  • running without looking when there is a likelihood of other players occupying the space into which the player is traveling,


As a member of our club, you have agreed to learn the rules of ultimate. Please take the time to educate yourself as the responsibility does not solely fall on the captain to deal with every situation that arises on the field. Also, please report any dangerous play same as you would any other incident through the game submission function on our website. We will be following up with those involved in each situation with the goal to educate and prevent future dangerous plays.

Below are two additional links to help with the understanding of this rule. The first link is the official 2020-2021 USA Ultimate Rules. Section 17.I.1. describes the Dangerous Play Rule in full. The second link below is a Prezi outlining the Dangerous Play Rule (as per the Hamilton Ultimate Club).




Special thanks to the leaders with the Hamilton Ultimate Club for creating content helping us to communicate the Dangerous Play Rule to our members.