BROC U Issue #6: Prevent Injury from Lack of Attention in Your Athletic Facility - Start with Building a Checklist
Some Places to Begin:
- Do you have high confidence in the safety of your athletic equipment during its use?
- Is there any substandard, broken or defective equipment?
- Are there any hazardous surfaces?
- Is there adequate padding for injury prevention and is it in working condition?
- Is the stadium reviewed and prepared for high traffic and your spectators?
- Are there any worn ropes, wires, or cables?
- Are any areas potential slip hazards?
- Do your facilities have adequate lighting throughout?
- Are there unnecessary obstacles inside the facility creating potential risk?
- If you get to this point without any concerns, you are doing better than most….
Is Your Sports Facility as Safe as it Could Be?
If you are in charge of your school’s sports program, you naturally want everyone not only to enjoy themselves but also to be as safe as possible. With this mind, you should not ignore the possibility that your gymnasium or sports arena may not be as safe as you believe it to be. Keep in mind that a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found that over 3.5 million sports injuries are sustained annually by young people, and many of these injuries arise because of defective equipment or unsuitable protective gear. The following are some problems that may occur if you are not paying attention.
Substandard, Broken or Defective Equipment
Poorly designed or manufactured equipment can cause severe injuries to athletes or weekend warriors. Never try to save costs by installing anything but the best equipment. Heavy use of your equipment naturally causes wear and tear which could lead to equipment malfunction and risks to users. Therefore, regular maintenance inspections are essential.
Some might argue that, considering its continuous use, a proper playing surface or floor is the most crucial part of a sports facility. Unsafe play may involve, for example, an all-weather football arena with an aging surface. All sports surfaces such as football or lacrosse fields, and tennis and squash courts should be examined and kept in a state of good repair. And, don’t overlook potential problems with the floor in the locker room.
Athletic wall padding should be installed to preempt injuries and checked regularly for signs of deterioration. Wall protective padding is suitable for outdoor stadiums, basketball and tennis courts, wrestling rooms, etc. Some games are played at a fast pace, so fixed posts in volleyball and football should be covered with protective padding to protect players from injury if they collide with them.
Don’t forget your spectators – they expect that watching a sporting event is something to enjoy in safety. Unfortunately, spectators are sometimes unknowingly in danger – take the case of the $1 million settlement for a West Point cadet with a broken neck caused by a railing collapse during an Army-Navy football game. Regular inspection of protective barriers, stadium steps, and handrails should be a given.
Other Things to Watch Out for:
- Worn Ropes, Wires, and Cables – Inspect these regularly for signs of wear and fraying. If you find any defects, place an out-of-order notice on the equipment and call your maintenance provider.
- Slippery Conditions - Pay attention to wet, slippery areas and also to broken tiles around pools, hot tubs, and showers. You want to do your best to avoid your athletes slipping and falling.
- Unlit or Dimly Lit Areas - You don’t want a running student bumping headfirst into a wall because of faulty lighting. Check your lights daily so that bulbs can be replaced immediately when they burn out.
- Obstacles - Have a caretaker go around your facility at regular intervals to tidy up any obstacles lying around, or appoint senior students to do so. You want to avoid athletes tripping over something when their mind is on the upcoming game and not on what is on the floor in front of them.
Protect Yourself from Liability
As your school sports facility manager, your duty is to ensure that your young people are able to exercise and play their favorite sports easily and safely. Your facility and its associated equipment need to be maintained on a regular basis. When it comes to safety, BROC prioritizes it as number one and aims to get everyone to do the same. Don’t be complacent; talk to us to see how our maintenance plans will protect you from liability, all the primary office (303) 973-4517 to get more information on safety of your equipment and of your facility.