Campus Recreation

Risk Management Issues facing Campus Recreation Directors

July 17, 2011

How risks have changed in the past 10 years

Kathleen Hatch
Executive Director of University Recreation & Wellbeing, WSU
Mick Deluca
Director, Department of Cultural and Recreational Affairs , UCLA

Kathleen Hatch (Washington State University) and Mick DeLuca (UCLA) are two well know and respected Campus Recreation Directors within the NIRSA family. They graciously agreed to be ‘interviewed’ by Ian McGregor to share their insights on the topic of Risk Management – from a department-wide perspective. To provide a framework for the interview, the following list of questions were circulated prior to the session.

  1. From a Risk Management perspective, what are the key risk areas impacting Campus Recreation Directors today? How does this differ from 10 years ago? How would you priority rank a list of these major issues?
  2. Explain in detail what some of these specific risks look like; how these risks impact your department and the steps you’ve taken to mitigate the risks.
  3. How is Risk Management coordinated within your department? Describe the role of the Risk Manager and the Risk Management Committee in your department.
  4. The importance of creating a risk ‘culture’ within the department.
  5. Can Campus Recreation become a risk management leader within the university setting?
  6. What advice would you provide to Directors who are struggling with these new risks?

The ensuing discussion quickly turned into a free-flowing exchange of ideas and experiences. The insights shared, together with the pragmatic and common sense advice given, should provide Directors with a realistic roadmap to follow as they try to navigate their way through the new wave of risk issues.

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Tips from the Trenches: Writing a Comprehensive Risk Management Manual

July 17, 2011

Kathy Rose
Facilities Director
Campus Recreation
University of Kentucky

When our Director decided that the University of Kentucky Campus Recreation Department would participate in the 2008 Risk Management Survey of SEC Schools , I was confident, almost to the point of smugness, that we’d score well. I knew that our Fitness, Aquatics, Intramural, and Outdoor Pursuits Directors all had solid risk management policies in place, and as the Facilities Director, I felt that risk management was one of my strongest areas. Needless to say, pride cometh before a fall, and the results of the survey ranked our department’s risk management plan as one of the lowest scoring among all the participating schools. So immediately following our initial shock, which was accompanied by the usual sulking and gnashing of teeth, we went to work to fix the problems.

One of our biggest deficiencies was the lack of a centralized plan that would drive our risk management policies and procedures within each area. Our initial step towards solving this problem was to form a Risk Management Committee that would oversee the Campus Recreation Department as a whole. The committee’s first daunting task was to write a risk management manual that would be general enough to be relevant to every area within our department, but that would also include specific policies and procedures needed for specialized programs. We assessed our current risk management practices and found that a few new policies needed to be incorporated into each area. But mostly we found ourselves working backwards, taking solid procedures from each area and using them to formulate a general policy. It was like having all the boards, bolts, screws, and knobs for your new TV/DVD entertainment center spread out on your living room floor, and then having to create your own instruction manual in order to put the pieces together.

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Medical Screening of Participants

July 14, 2011

Are you ready (or able) to do this?

Ian McGregor, Ph.D.
Ian McGregor & Associates Inc.

If someone suffers a heart attack while participating in one of your programs, the courts may ask whether the participant was medically screened before participation. In other words, what attempts were made to determine whether the person was medically fit to participate?

Although it may not be practical or even reasonable to medically screen all participants, there may be some programs where it might be wise to determine if there are any medical reasons to exclude a participant. For example, taking a scuba class requires a medical examination by a physician, yet many fitness programs rely only on a simple screening tool such as the PAR-Q (Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire). Is this a reasonable approach, or should certain high-risk participants in fitness programs (e.g. seniors) also be required to be screened by their physician prior to participation? Read more

SportRisk Planning Manual

July 14, 2011


SportRisk: Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: Introduction

CHAPTER 2: Negligence

1. Why is Negligence such a Big Deal?

  • Our Litigious Society
  • Impact of Increased Litigation on Sport/Recreation

2. Negligence

  • Tort Law
  • What is Negligence?

3. Establishing Liability for Negligence

  • Establishing Negligence
  • Duty of Care
  • Standard of Care
  • Actual Harm
  • Proximate Cause
  • Liability for Negligence
  • Personal Liability
  • Vicarious Liability
  • Products and Premises/Occupiers Liability
  • Defences against Negligence
  • Contributory Negligence
  • Voluntary Assumption of Risk
  • Waivers

4. Negligence and the Courts

  • The Legal Process
  • What to do in the Event of a Lawsuit

CHAPTER 3: The 5 Key Risk Areas

1. Supervision & Instruction

  • Qualifications & Certifications
  • Supervision Ratios
  • Lesson Plans & Progressions
  • Job Descriptions
  • Matching Participants

2. Training

  • What Training is Required?
  • Who Needs to be Trained?
  • Training Grids

3. Facilities & Equipment

  • New Facility Design Issues
  • Inspections
  • Maintenance
  • Inspection and Maintenance Checklists
  • Signage
  • Facility and Equipment Modification
  • Natural Hazards

4. Documentation

  • Risk Management Manual
  • Waivers
  • Medical Screening
  • Risk Information

5. Emergency Response Plan

  • Emergency Planning Process
  • Training
  • Rehearsals/ Drills
  • Equipment
  • Communication

CHAPTER 4: Risk Management Planning

1. Risk Management: What’s it all about?

  • What’s all the Fuss?
  • Defining Risk Management

2. The Role of Insurance

  • The Cornerstone of your Risk Management Plan

3. Keeping it Simple

  • Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

4. Focus on High Risk Areas: The Risk Matrix

  • Risk Matrix: Probability vs. Severity

5. Risk Management Planning

3 Step Process:

  • Step 1: Prioritize High Risk vs. Low Risk
    – The Risk Matrix
  • Step 2: Conduct an Audit/ Risk Assessment
    – The 5 Key Risk Areas
    – The Key issues in each Risk Area
    – The Key Audit Questions
  • Step 3: Develop Action Plans

6. Organizing for Risk Management

  • The Risk Management Committee

CHAPTER 5: Special Policy Areas

1. Transportation

  • Four Key Areas (Vehicles; Drivers; Passengers; Emergency Response)
  • Trip Administrator
  • Trip Leader

2. Sport Clubs

  • Reporting Structure
  • Coaches
  • Travel
  • Emergency Care
  • Other (Waivers; Medical Screening; Safety Officer; Alcohol/Drugs; Hazing;)
  • Sport Clubs Manual

3. Summer Camps

  • Staffing
  • Supervision & Training
  • Emergency Response
  • Documentation
  • Facilities & Equipment
  • Other (Behavioural Issues; Medications; Transportation; Insurance)
  • Summer Camps Manual

4. Disease Control

  • Bloodborne pathogens
  • Infectious Diseases

5. Alcohol & Drugs

  • Policies
  • Facility Rentals involving alcohol

6. Event Management

  • Five Key Areas
  • Event Management Checklist

7. Contracts

  • Facility Rentals
  • Personnel

In today’s litigious society, can you afford not to have this book?

To order, go to

Managing Risk in Sport and Recreation: The Essential Guide for Loss Prevention

July 14, 2011

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

On March 8, 2003, I was training for the cycling segment of a half Ironman triathlon. I had traveled to Maui with a sport club and we were biking from Kahului to Hana, a treacherous 56 mile ride in the rain. Fatigue, wet brakes and lack of experience navigating switch backs down steep mountain terrain caused my bike to lose control, hit a guard rail and launch me into the air down a 280 foot cliff. The force had caused my bike to break in half, landing high in a tree. My fall was miraculously broken by a ledge where I landed on my knee and wrist, suffering relatively minor injuries (only 3 fractured wrist bones) rather than the more likely outcome of death. The rescue was made by firefighters rappelling down the mountain, rather than an impossibly dangerous helicopter mission.
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It’s Time to do a Flood Insurance Policy Check Up

July 14, 2011

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

Does your organization have flood insurance? If so, are the policy limits high enough to repair your damaged facility and replace damaged equipment? It seems that every time I turn on the news there is a story about flooding somewhere in the world. Those stories combined with the fact that I live on a koi pond, blocks from the ocean and on an island where hurricanes and tsunamis are a constant threat, led me to e-mail my insurance agent inquiring about the possibility of my purchasing flood insurance (I already had hurricane insurance). The agent replied with a quote and I responded accepting his offer. We met at my residence and I showed him the koi pond and wrote a check for the amount of the premium on October 11, 2008. I followed up in an e-mail less than one week later, asking that the agent confirm that my flood insurance coverage was bound. He responded by e-mail, assuring me that he submitted the application and explained that the policy through FEMA would take 30 days to be in effect. This was cause for celebration. While my neighbors worried about the constant threat of the pond flooding (as it had done in 2003), I felt confident that even if it flooded, any losses would be paid under my shiny, new flood insurance policy.

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