Sports Law • Risk Management

Boston Bombing: A Risk Management Perspective

Not since 9/11 has the world witnessed such a horrifying act of what appears to be terrorism in the United States. The Boston Bombings on April 15, 2013, were unexpected, deadly and caused injuries to many. The probable terroristic attack caught the world off guard.

Although the organizers of the Boston Marathon were probably prepared for the remote possibility that a catastrophic occurrence could happen, thoughts of bombings were less likely than weather disaster or gun violence.
The Boston Bombings are a reminder that when organizing a marathon, any other distance running race, a triathlon, or other sporting event, consideration should be given to the risk of bomb, terrorism, gun, or other violence. The first step is risk assessment. Evaluate the risk of such incidents. For example, if the event is high profile or has a large number of participants, there would be a higher likelihood of terrorism. The second step is risk control. What can be done to prevent such an incident? One aspect of risk control would be to have trained security and emergency personnel in place. The third step is risk finance. Make sure that you check your insurance policies and consider how your organization will finance the consequences of potential harm. This may include event cancelation insurance in the event that the incident results in cancellation of the event.
In the weeks and months following the Boston Bombings, events all over the world will be considering the risk management challenges of marathons and other sporting events. Please refer to my book: Managing Risk in Sport and Recreation: The Essential Guide for Loss Prevention (2009 Human Kinetics) for information on disaster planning in sport.