Campus Recreation

Minimizing MRSA: A Three-Pronged Approach

July 13, 2011

Sarah E. Hardin, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Facilities
Campus Recreation
DePaul University

Methicillen-resistant staphylococcus aureus or the MRSA Virus, as it is more commonly known, was first addressed by John Lentz in the April 2007 issue of this publication. At that time, there were many recreational sports professionals who were unaware of the viciousness of this disease. Now, two years later, the term ‘MRSA’ strikes fear into the hearts of recreation facility managers across the country. Although we may not have had first-hand experience in dealing with the infection, we have heard enough stories to make us want to avoid it at all costs. We all wonder if we are doing enough to minimize the risks of an outbreak in our facilities.

While many institutions have already adopted a number of practices to prevent an outbreak, others may still be at the planning stages. This article is intended to assist those at both ends of this spectrum. The first section of the article provides basic information about the virus itself, as well as explaining why those in the recreational sports field should be concerned about its prevention. The second section addresses the actual practices used by recreational sport administrators to avoid or prevent the spread of the MRSA infection.

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The Journey in Creating Participant Expectations

July 04, 2011

Judith Sperling
Assistant Director – Risk Management, Training & Development
UCLA Recreation

The ‘Participant Expectations’ was a project of UCLA Recreation’s Risk Management Team. Team members were often confronted by participants who could not be reasonably coached in complying with facility use and safety policies. Some participants did not have a relationship with the campus where they knew about or shared our community values and commitment to safety. We realized that we had not been successful in conveying what being a part of UCLA Recreation meant. Use of facilities and participating in programs was a privilege worth having and we needed to communicate our campus’ vision of a cooperative and tolerant community.
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Pandemic Planning — An H1N1 Update

July 04, 2011

Joe Ozorio, CBCP
Assistant Vice-President
Marsh Risk Consulting

Just 6 short months ago there was discussion about the possibility of an influenza pandemic occurring and that it was a matter of when, not if. As we all know, we are now steeped in the midst of global pandemic, and the only thing that’s different from what was last written, is the type of influenza — not avian as originally feared, but swine flu, or as it’s now properly known: Influenza Type A H1N1.

On June 11, 2009 the World Health Organization’s Dr. Margaret Chan, stating that “…the scientific criteria for an influenza pandemic have been met.”, officially raised the pandemic alert level from Phase 5 to Phase 6 (see previous article for the WHO phases and their descriptions). The world was at the start of a full influenza pandemic. Since then we’ve seen the number of cases rise dramatically all over the globe. As of the last available official update — July 6, 2009 — WHO reported over 94,000 confirmed cumulative cases of H1N1 and 429 deaths worldwide. However since then, they’ve stopped reporting the cumulative numbers. Public Health Agency of Canada has also stopped reporting cumulative cases and now reports only deaths.

Why? It was pointless for several reasons:
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H1N1 (Swine) Flu

July 04, 2011

Are you Ready?

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

When the threat of an H5N1 (Avian Flu) pandemic looked imminent in the last few years, many universities scrambled to put a plan in place. While that threat did not materialise (for now), universities are now faced with a world-wide outbreak of the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus — a different disease requiring a different planning model. A key change for campus emergency planners this time around is a recognized need for a more flexible model (versus the more rigid plans originally developed for the Avian Flu strain).

According to Chris Tapfer, Emergency Management Coordinator for Washington State University, the big issues for Campus Recreation programs will be flexibility and hygiene. According to Tapfer, campus closures will be very unlikely and although there will potentially be a lot of sick students, the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to have individuals stay home and out of circulation for 3-5 days, and until at least 24 hours after their fever has subsided. This means Campus Recreation programs may still be able to function but will need to ramp up sanitization programs and protective measures.

Since increased diligence in hygiene and sanitization is also the key to preventing the spread of other contagious diseases such as MRSA (see article in this Newsletter), it is therefore recommended that Campus Recreation Directors review their cleaning and sanitization protocols to ensure that spread of highly contagious diseases like Swine Flu and MRSA is minimized.

For more information on these threats, and advice on how to deal with them:

  1. Consult with your campus Risk Management Department and/or Emergency Response Coordinator.
  2. Review the H1N1 Update in this Newseletter
  3. Access information on H1N1 provided by the CDC at
  4. Review the MRSA article in this Newsletter.

Managing the Risks of Special Events

May 12, 2011

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

Special events can present a wide variety of additional risks to a public entity. Often the risks are linked to: uncommon or first time activities, complex activities and mixed crowds, temporary sites and services, involvement of partner and supporting organizations, and reliance on inexperienced staff and volunteers. Skillful management of the event and supporting activities, including the risks, requires through knowledge of the event, adequate controls and financing for losses that may occur despite all of the attention to risk. Assignment of adequate resources for the planning, and execution of the event, whether it be an entity event or the event of another organization at the entity’s facilities, is critical.

Events can become “special” based upon the content, participants, sponsors, venue, funding or other factors. The special “guest” may have armed bodyguards or an entourage of “followers” with whom local authorities will need to interact. Special events are generally beyond the scope of the public entity’s “day to day” activities, requiring exceptional efforts and resources. They may be an event of a city, Annual Holiday Parade, or the event of an outside entity held in a city or county facility, such as a Renaissance Faire. Impacts on the normal operations of the public entity, community, and immediate “neighbors” may be significant or benign, such as special lighting overflow, amplified sound and a surprise fireworks finale. Critical to the management of the event and the risks involved is ownership of the event and/or the venue.

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360-Degree Risk Management Part I

May 12, 2011

Lori Miller Ed.D., JD
Professor, Sport & Recreation Law
Wichita State University

As we begin a new academic year, it is a good time to step back and take a fresh look at your department and the policies and protocols related to the management of inherent campus recreation risks. This two-part article provides both novice and seasoned campus recreation administrators with a simple, concise, and descriptive concept, i.e., 360-degree risk management, to assist in the comprehensive design or review of their respective campus recreation risk management system.

As depicted by the icon, the 360-degree risk management concept embraces the dynamic, all-encompassing nature of campus recreation risk management systems in the 21st century. Eight characteristics embody a quality 360-degree risk management system:

  1. Comprehensive understanding of the varied risks common to a campus recreation department;
  2. Broad based, multi-functional risk management responsibilities expected of all campus recreation staff, student workers, and volunteers;
  3. Ongoing communications with central administration, supervisors, subordinates, community partners, volunteers, facility lessees, and students;
  4. Collection and analyses of internal data (e.g., participant usage, preferences, injuries, staff performance) and external data (e.g., legislation, professional standards, economic climate, demographic trends);
  5. Routine review, updating (if needed), and communication of campus recreation policies and procedures;
  6. Relevant risk management trainings and professional development opportunities;
  7. Campus recreation job descriptions and rewards that include defined risk management responsibilities and corresponding performance assessment; and
  8. Overt administrator commitment to an established quality risk management culture.

Part I of this article discusses the important risk management role associated with the first four characteristics (i.e., #1-4), and Part II of the article ,covering the latter four characteristics, will be included in the next issue of the Risk Management Newsletter. The following paragraphs describe the first four elements found within a quality 360 Degree Risk Management System.

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