Posts Tagged: equipment

Some Thoughts on Helmet Risk Management

February 16, 2017

The Ball is in Your Court

Katharine M. Nohr, JD

With all of the discussion about concussion prevention, assessment and treatment, there’s a fundamental reality that’s seldom addressed—the necessity of buckling the helmet chin strap. Helmets are designed to protect an athlete’s skull and will easily become dislodged and not perform as intended if they aren’t fastened properly. The chin strap is designed to secure the helmet to the player’s head to prevent the helmet from falling off and/or causing injury when it is loose enough to be driven into the head with the force of a fall or tackle.

As a certified triathlon official and triathlon safety director, I am constantly surprised at the number of cyclists who wear their bicycle helmets as hats. The USA Triathlon Competitive Rules and the International Triathlon Union rules require that helmet chin straps be buckled. Most athletes comply, but there were always those who violate the rule or, instead, keep their chin straps so loose that they dangle mid-throat. The chin straps would swing with every movement and if they fell, the helmet would surely topple off like a hat or almost strangle them by hanging from their neck. Read more

Required vs. Highly Recommended

November 21, 2011

Use of Safety Googles in Racket Sports

Roger Heimerman
Operations/Facility Manager
Campus Recreation
University of Massachusetts – Amherst

The establishment and review of protocol and verbiage is an integral part of the recreational sports professional’s responsibilities. Administration must ensure their facility and program policies are enforceable, reflect an emphasis on participant safety, protect the facility surfaces and equipment, and minimize legal liability.

Commonly used verbiage includes the following: not permitted, not allowed, prohibited, not responsible for, expected to, may not, required, and highly recommended. It is suggested to use these terms to best reflect the intent of the policy, promote a safe and customer friendly atmosphere and to transfer legal responsibility when applicable.

In developing policy, ‘Required’ vs. ‘Highly Recommended’ policies must be determined with care and based on the following considerations:

  •   # of staff
  •   Location of staff
  •   Staff supervision patterns
  •   Location of activity area
  •   Size of activity area
  •   Follow-through ability of staff in enforcement of selected policy
  •   Facilities vs. Programs
  •   Proper signage and/or written materials

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Selecting the Best Belay System for your Program

July 14, 2011

Michael Doyle, Assistant Director, Outdoor Recreation
Michael Phaneuf, Assistant Director, Challenge Course
Campus Recreation Services
University of Maryland, College Park

Climbing walls, ropes courses and adventure centers continue to grow in popularity and are more accessible than ever before. They are no longer just found at summer camps, university recreation centers and secluded retreat centers. By the time first year students arrive on your campus, they will most likely have participated in a ropes course as part of a class field trip or climbed a rock wall while on a cruise ship, or even climbed a portable, pop-up structure while attending a minor league baseball game. Today, climbing structures attract different user groups, have different purposes (recreation or education), and are funded and staffed based on user groups and program purpose/mission. One of the most critical decisions to be made when building an adventure facility such as a climbing wall or ropes course is which belay system to use. With the growth of the industry, technological advancements have been made to make climbing and belaying easier on participants and staff alike.
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How to Avoid Making a Racket over Racquets

July 14, 2011

Using Equipment Only for their Intended Use

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

I’ll bet that on occasion employees of your organization have had to warn a child or adult not to use sports equipment for things other than their intended use. Perhaps you’ve seen someone using a baseball bat to dislodge a basketball from a net; a weight bench to stand on in order to reach something; small weights to prop a door open; or a tennis racquet to kill a bug. Most of the time, using equipment for something other than what it was designed for does not cause any harm. However, a recent court case provides a good reason that sports and recreation equipment should only be used for what they were designed for.

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Getting Ahead of Head Injuries in Sports and Recreation

May 12, 2011

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

On March 18, 2009, headlines all over the world announced that actress Natasha Richardson died from a head injury she sustained from a fall on a Quebec ski slope. An autopsy revealed that she sustained an epidural hematoma, causing bleeding between the skull and the brain’s covering. Such bleeding from a skull fracture may quickly produce a blood clot which puts pressure on the brain, forcing the brain downward. This impacts the brain stem that controls vital functions, including breathing. Logically, if all of that is happening it should be obvious and immediate medical attention would be sought. That is not the case. It is common for people that suffer head injuries to feel fine initially as it takes some time before symptoms emerge. Dr. Keith Siller of New York University Langone Medical Center, when interviewed in relation to this tragedy explained that, “This is a very treatable condition if you’re aware of what the problem is and the patient is quickly transferred to a hospital.”

The news coverage about Natasha Richardson, generally reported that she was a beginning skier who declined to wear a helmet for her ski lesson. She felt fine after her fall and turned an ambulance away at approximately 1:00pm. She later developed a headache and medics returned at approximately 3:00pm. As her condition deteriorated, she was driven from a local hospital to a Montreal hospital, not arriving until approximately 7:00pm. There were no medivac helicopters or airplanes available.

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The Ball is in Your Court: Goalpost Safety

April 07, 2011

Goalpost Safety

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

If your organization uses goalposts in football, soccer, or any other sport, you should make yourself familiar with an Indiana case that is hot, well maybe, warm off the press, Bourne v. Gillman, 452 F.3d 632 (7th Cir., June 20, 2006). If you’ve read this opinion, you are probably wondering what a products liability case in which an injured fan sued the manufacturer of the goalpost has to do with you. A look at the history of the case as described by the court will reveal some startling facts that might be relevant to your organization.

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