Special Events

The Wild World of Wibit

December 16, 2015

Adventures in Programming

Rebecca Mabile
Aquatics and Safety Coordinator
Weber State University

With the popularity of shows such as Wipeout and American Ninja Warrior, inflatable obstacles have become a popular programming option for many universities across the country. Campus Recreation departments are always looking for new programming ideas to implement and the Wibit provides a unique program that gives students an experience similar to what they are watching on television.

What is a Wibit? To define it simply would be to say that Wibit is not a product, but rather a company. The product Wibit manufactures is an inflatable obstacle course for use in aquatic programming. When a programmer sees Wibit, they see a world of excitement and possibility. When a Risk Manager sees Wibit, they run the other direction. At least, this was the experience of Weber State University when Campus Recreation purchased a Wibit obstacle course. Read more

Event Security Planning

February 25, 2014

The Ball is In Your Court
By Katharine M. Nohr, J.D.

Security planning has recently been highly publicized in relation to the Super Bowl and the Olympic Games in Sochi.  High profile events and those that attract thousands of attendees and participants, such as the Boston Marathon, are potential terrorist targets, because of the media attention that will bring the terrorist’s message to the public.  Your sporting events very likely will not attract millions of television viewers, but that doesn’t mean that security shouldn’t be of prime consideration when you develop you risk management plan.

The first step to evaluating security needs begins with risk assessment.  What possible scenarios can you foresee at your event?  In order to evaluate this, you should look at the history of your organization’s events and considered what problems have occurred at similar events in your region and in other locales.  Have you had problems with fights breaking out in the stands?  Are you concerned about attendees carrying weapons?  Is there a risk of a riot post game?
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“Responsible Tailgating” — an oxymoron?

January 15, 2014

Alison Epperson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Health Ed.
Murray State University

In North America, tailgate has become nearly as important as the actual event. Extensive planning, preparation, food, attire, accessories, and location are key elements in enhancing the tailgater’s experience. The very nature of tailgating is a great example of culture “a shared set of attitudes, values and beliefs held by a group of people.”
However, as the popularity of tailgating has increased (and in particular, the alcohol consumption associated with it), so have some significant risk factors which can have detrimental effects on the participants as well as the property/ ownership of the event location.

It is not to say that other sports do not participate in tailgating, but by in large, the two sports most closely associated with large-scale pre and post event drinking (and sometimes even during) is football and NASCAR racing. Football however, touts elaborate tailgating on both the collegiate and professional level.
With reports estimating products and services related to tailgating accounting for revenue generation of approximately $12 billion, it’s not likely that this trend is going to decrease anytime soon. Furthermore, tailgating is not limited to just students supporting their home team. According to Katherine Dyson’s (2008) article ‘Turn Tailgating Into Fine Art’, the demographics of tailgaters may or may not surprise you: Read more

Providing Reasonable Accessibility to Medical Care at Events

January 17, 2012

The Ball is In Your Court:

Katharine M. Nohr, Esq.
Nohr Sports Risk Management, LLC

Does your organization provide reasonable accessibility to medical care during recreational activities? A recent Federal Court case addressed this issue, with the Court denying the Defendant’s motion to dismiss the case and so the matter will proceed to trial unless the parties are able to enter into a settlement agreement. See: Estate of Newton v. Grandstaff, 2011 WL 2678933 (July 8, 2011).

The facts of the case are that De Shawn Newton was participating in a basketball tournament involving 128 teams at a YMCA facility in Dallas, Texas. Newton apparently played well in the first half of the game and was seated on the bench, when he suddenly went into cardiac arrest. The coach attempted CPR, but no one else came to his aid. Newton apparently had a congenital respiratory condition and heart defect. Emergency medical personnel were ultimately dispatched, but allegedly could not enter the facility and so no professional care was available for 30 minutes. The Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants failed to “hire or arrange for any medical personnel, or trainers certified in administering CPR, to provide first aid to injured players in need of medical attention; provide for any emergency medical equipment, such as a defibrillator to be available in the event of a medical emergency; and provide effective ingress and egress to the facility that would have allowed emergency medical personnel to access quickly the premises and render immediate and necessary medical aid.” Plaintiffs alleged that Newton would not have died if the proper safety measures had been taken. Defendants took the position that they had no duty owed to Newton.

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Managing Risk in Club Sports Events

November 23, 2011

Kate Durant
Club Sports Program Coordinator
Student Activities
University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut has made it a requirement for student organizations planning special events, and Club Sports organizations to have risk management pre-planning meetings. This initiative was brought forth by our department ‘Risk Management Committee’ and through conversations with the university risk manager. Student Clubs’ events were getting bigger and more organized and students were coming forth to their advisors with more questions.

In these planning meetings with student officers, we define ‘Risk’ as an activity or event that can be a hazard or source of danger; something that may ultimately affect the outcome of their event. We talk about how Risk Management is the process of considering the potential and perceived risks involved in student organizations. It includes monitoring organization activities and taking both corrective action and proactive steps to minimize accidental injury and/or loss. We encourage Clubs to play out possible situations and discuss what controls can be taken to avoid or manage those risks at their events.
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Managing the Risks of Special Events

November 23, 2011

A New Online Course

Joe Risser CPCU, ARM-P
Risk Management Design
San Luis Obispo

Over the past few years, Special Events have transformed into a big issue for many Campus Recreation Administrators. Due to budget challenges, more and more departments are capitalizing on the potential to lease their multiple and diverse facilities – by renting to outside groups and/or staging or hosting their own events. This expansion in operations has been accompanied by the realization that running a large concert in the gym is quite different from organizing the Intramural Basketball Championship game!

Events can be ‘special’ based upon the content, participants, sponsors, venue, funding or other factors. These events may involve renting multiple fields to the city for a soccer tournament, hosting the University Graduation Ceremonies in the fieldhouse, or running a large fundraising dance in the arena. Special events are often beyond the scope of the University’s “day-to-day” activities, requiring exceptional efforts and resources. Critical to the management of events and the risks involved is ownership of the event and/or the venue.

Impacts on the normal operations of the Campus Recreation department, the outside community, and immediate ‘neighbors’ may be significant (or benign) and range from cancellation of gym space displacing regular user groups (e.g. Intramurals), to issues such as overflow parking onto neighborhood streets, amplified sound during outdoor events, and maybe even a surprise fireworks finale.

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