Sport Clubs

Classifying Sport Clubs through Leadership, Education and Service

January 17, 2012

Eric Ascher
Competitive Sports Coordinator
Department of Recreational Sports
University of Florida

There are a many ways to classify Sport Clubs. Some programs organize clubs based on characteristics of that sport/activity itself with the following criteria as a guide:

  • level of risk
  • frequency of travel
  • presence of a coach
  • type of sport (team, individual/dual, martial arts, performance sport)
  • organization purpose (competitive, recreational, social, instructional)

About four years ago we decided to create a Classification System based on criteria related to merit or achievement. It would also serve as a means of providing an incentive to clubs in the budget allocation process.

After doing some research with other schools to see what kind of ideas were out there, but not finding exactly what we were looking for, we decided to align our Classification System with our tenets of Leadership, Education and Service. More specifically we wanted to be intentional about fostering an environment of learning, development and involvement for our students.

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Athletic Trainer Risk Management

January 17, 2012

The Ball is In Your Court

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

On August 12, 2011, a Federal Court in Alabama issued a decision in a case in which a former football player at Auburn University sued a former athletic trainer at Auburn for failing to supervise his rehabilitation properly. See Ramsey v. Gamber, Slip Copy, 2011 WL 3568911 (2011). Plaintiff Ramsey had been injured while doing weight training at the University. His athletic trainer thereafter collaborated with doctors to design a rehabilitation plan. Ramsey alleged that Gamber “improperly ordered him to perform weighted exercise before it was safe for him to do so, in violation of doctors’ instructions.” In the Court’s decision, it sympathized with the Plaintiff’s “distress over the injury that cut short his athletic career” and noted that it was “deeply regrettable that Auburn University terminated his football scholarship because of an injury he had little ability to prevent.” The Court went on to conclude that Ramsey’s case was properly dismissed as he was not able to prove that Defendant’s misconduct caused his injury.

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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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UC San Diego Sports Clubs Hazing Policy: An Attempt to Be Pro-Active

October 12, 2011

Liz Henry
Asst. Director of Sports and Rec Clubs

Scott Berndes
Director of Sports and Rec Clubs

Hazing has always been a prominent issue on college campuses and we have seen it persist on campus for several reasons. First, many groups are sometimes oblivious to the fact that their initiation practices are actually hazing. Also, those subjected to initiation activities may not question them because they are handed down by older members who often went through similar experiences. In addition, organizations may ignore the possibilities of harm and consequences because of a belief that they are fostering loyalty and bonding. The University of California, San Diego takes the issue of hazing very seriously. The practices of hazing are a clear violation of the Student Code of Conduct and California law. Thus, it was very important for the UCSD sports clubs department to establish a clear and concise hazing policy relative to sports club activities.

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Sport Club Athletic Trainers: Part I

July 18, 2011

We Can No Longer Afford Not to Afford Them!

Tom Roberts
Director Recreation and Wellness
University of Richmond

In the fall of 2007 a university rugby club member suffered a concussion during an away game. Ignoring the headaches, the rugby player continued to participate in club practices, only seeking medical attention once they became unbearable. The medical diagnoses was a fractured skull, a severe injury that could have lead to brain damage or death, had it not been treated. This university dodged a bullet, a near tragedy, and most likely very costly litigation that could have been avoided with the presence of an athletic trainer. This near fatal incident involving a rugby player was a wake-up call for the administration at Oberlin College, where the incident occurred. Several months after the incident, the Dean of Students at Oberlin College announced, “the protection of student athlete’s safety is a priority.” The university was taking important first steps to ensure the continued safety of its club sport athletes by hiring a sports medicine professional, an athletic trainer.

The administration of sport clubs requires a proactive approach to risk management in order to provide a safe environment for the participants and reduce the likelihood of injury and litigation. Although there may be no absolute protection from lawsuits, a well-trained staff, safe and well-maintained facilities and equipment, and carefully planned and executed risk management plans will reduce the likelihood of injuries and avoid legal entanglements. This can best be accomplished by having certified athletic trainers responsible for managing risk and providing medical attention at all sport club practices and home competitions. It’s paramount that recreational sports administrators take whatever steps are necessary to justify and provide vital medical coverage and services for our sport club athletes. The risk is too great for our sport club athletes and the legal responsibility and protection of our universities. Universities can no longer afford not to afford sport club athletic trainers, especially for contact and high risk sports.

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Sport Club Athletic Trainers: Part 2

July 18, 2011

We Can No Longer Afford Not to Afford Them!

Tom Roberts
Director Recreation and Wellness
University of Richmond

“I have coached college rugby for eight years now, and I have a long list of things that we would love to have to make our club better, and more competitive, but to be honest, athletic trainers at home and away matches is the single most important thing the University could provide our club. After all, the welfare of the students should come first before everything else”. (Carl Schmitt, President of the Virginia Rugby Union and University of Richmond Rugby Coach)

High schools have made the safety of athletes a priority. Passing legislation and mandating better concussion training and medical services, public high schools now require full-time certified athletic trainers at high risk sporting events. The NCAA has provided a set of guidelines that have become recognized as the standard of care. These guidelines ensure that athletic trainers are available at almost all NCAA athletic team practices and competitions. So why are there not athletic trainers at university sport club practices and competitions? Ask most sport club administrators, coaches, and athletes and the answer you’re likely to get is “we cannot afford to pay for athletic trainers”. Well it’s time we recognize we can no longer afford not to afford them! The risk is too great for our sport club athletes and the legal responsibility and protection of our universities, especially for contact and high risk sports.

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