Newsletter Articles

A Death at the Front Door

March 22, 2012

Rob Frye
Director, Campus Recreation
Florida International University

I took the call at home about 9:10pm on Thursday, March 25, 2010. It was one of those calls a campus recreation director never wants to receive – there had been a stabbing outside the Recreation Center, campus police were on-site, the suspect was on the loose, and our staff were attending the victim. In the fastest 20 minutes that a normal 30-minute drive could be made, I arrived to find the building surrounded by flashing lights, a crowd of people outside, my staff on lock-down inside, and the beginning of what was to become a long and tragic week for the University.

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Eagle C.A.R.E. — A Sport Club Concussion Management Program: Part 2

March 22, 2012

Bob Liebau
Associate Director of Campus Recreation
University of Mary Washington

Editor’s Note: This article is part two in a series documenting the Eagle C.A.R.E Concussion Management Program. Part 1 focused on the ‘Education and Baseline Testing’ part of the program. The current article deals with’ Concussion Management & Assessment’ and the ‘Post Concussion Treatment Plan’.

Concussion Management and Assessment
The summary items for this component are:

  1. Student-athlete is immediately removed from play
  2. Sport Club first responder or coach will provide sideline assessment following Pocket SCAT2 guidelines ( This pocket assessment tool provides a step-by-step process for identifying a concussion. It is endorsed by FIFA, IIHF, IOC, and the IRB.
  3. A student-athlete that looses consciousness or whose condition worsens will immediately be transported to Mary Washington Hospital by ambulance/rescue squad
  4. A student-athlete who is conscious but has exhibited signs and/or symptoms of a concussion is to be referred to Mary Washington Hospital for evaluation
  5. Student-athlete will notify physician upon arrival of ImPACT data availability

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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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Prioritizing the Four Universal Pool Rules

January 17, 2012

Matthew D. Griffith, M.S., RCRSP
Georgia Institute of Technology

It is well-known that educating guests is vital to their safety and an important component of a risk management plan. What isn’t as clear for many facility operators is what the most important information to get across is. It is not atypical for swimmers to be overwhelmed with signage listing a dozen or more pool rules when visiting an aquatic facility. This is unfortunate because most people only spend a few seconds reading signs. The result is poor communication of potentially important information. Therefore, pool rules and regulations should be placed into one of three categories: MUST know, SHOULD know, and NICE to know information. The information guests MUST know is information which could lead to catastrophic injury or death.

Within this category, there are four warnings that apply universally to almost all aquatic facilities. These are the four most important warnings to sign and enforce because if left unaddressed, they can lead to catastrophic accidents resulting in death or paralysis.

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That Can’t Happen Here. Can It?

January 17, 2012

Drowning in Massachusetts Pool

Rebecca Boyd
Aquatics and Risk Management Coordinator
University of Waterloo

With the news coverage of a woman’s body being discovered in a Massachusetts pool, apparently three days after she went missing, a great deal of attention is being focused on the lifeguards and what they may or may not have done that contributed to this bizarre series of events that led to the tragedy of the mother of five losing her life. The incident involves Marie Joseph who went swimming on a hot Sunday afternoon with neighbours, had a collision with the 9-year old neighbour at the bottom of a slide and never resurfaced. It involves allegations of lifeguards ignoring information about the missing woman and neighbours assuming she left the pool. It involves inspections on two days by two Health Inspectors on the days her body was assumed to be at the bottom of the pool, of a permit being issued by the Inspectors to a pool too cloudy to see the bottom in the four foot shallow end or at the 12 foot deep end.

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Zipping through the Waiver

January 17, 2012

A recent decision upholds a Waiver of Liability and Assumption of Risk Agreement

Shelley Timms, B.A., LL.B., LL.M.
Timshel Services Inc.
Alcohol Risk Management

The British Columbia Supreme Court recently revisited the issue of the validity of Waiver of Liability and Assumption of Risk Agreements as a complete defence even when there is clear negligence.

In Loychuk v. Westgeest v. Couger Mountain Adventures Ltd et al. (decided in early 2011), two women in separate groups participated in a Zipline package. On one section of the Zipline, one of the women got stuck halfway from the start point and the second woman collided into her a high rate of speed, causing injury to both. There was no question that the Zipline guides did not communicate and the second woman should have been held back until the first was brought down.

However, both had signed a waiver of liability/assumption of risk agreement. The defence argued that that should be the end of the matter as the waiver was all encompassing, including the exclusion of liability due to the negligence of the company’s employees.

The plaintiffs argued the following:

  1. That the release was unenforceable because it was reasonable to know that the plaintiffs were not consenting to the terms at issue and the company failed to take steps to inform the plaintiffs of the terms; in other words there was a misrepresentation by omission;
  2. That the release was unconscionable;
  3. That the release was contrary to the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act (British Columbia) by reason of deceptive and/or unconscionable acts by the company;
  4. That the release was obtained without consideration (money).

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