Sports Law • Risk Management


NCAA New Rule Regarding Pole Vault Helmets

Not so long ago a pole vaulter who wished to use protective headgear had few options. Vaulters resorted to wearing equipment, such as skating helmets, that were neither tested nor specifically recommended for use in pole vaulting. However, over the last decade there has been increasing concern and discussion about creating standardized pole vaulting headgear in order to minimize head injuries and to prevent the death of athletes’ who hit their head during a vault. Such widespread concern for pole vaulters’ safety has prompted some significant changes in the last five years.

May 9, 2011: Bike Riding in the Sand

Have you ever taken your two-wheeled bicycle to the beach and ridden your bike on the sand? This recently was a first for me and it was an experience that was exhilarating yet challenging. My adventure, though, was made more complex because I expended a lot of energy dodging people, waves and debris. Despite the joy of the activity, I could not help but reflect on ways to minimize the risks associated with my ride, and ultimately making the activity more enjoyable.

March 13, 2011: Safety First for Extreme Sports

Although “safety first” is a great tag line and even a great objective, is it really a top priority for sports organizations? Sports, by nature, are fraught with risk. In fact, extreme sports have evolved by increasing risk and even removing some elements of safety to make feats more incredible. This is not exactly in line with the “safety first” mantra.

January 1, 2011: Sledding Risk Management 101

As a kid, I opted to go sledding when my parents took us to the ski slopes. It’s easier than skiing, doesn’t require much in the way of specialized equipment and can be done anywhere that there is a slope and snow. When I was a kid, I never saw anyone wear a helmet for any sport (except football) as those were the days when parents sent their kids out the door in the morning to play and they didn’t come in the house until the sun set. With time and constant reports by the media about the dangers of virtually everything, kids are more strictly supervised, and everyone should be wearing helmets.

November 25, 2010: Beware of Ninja Triathletes

This week’s episode of Hawaii 5-0 was amusing to me with its plot centering on rogue triathletes who skillfully planned a burglary during the “Annual Koko Classic Triathlon”. The ninja triathletes were apparently quite successful with previous crimes as evidenced by the fact that they could afford to rent a multi-million dollar Honolulu house to train in and use as a base camp for their illegal activities. The 60 minute episode was chock full of risk management issues, inspiring this blog.

October 26, 2010: Mind Your Head

Earlier in the week I introduced the golden rule of risk management. Let me now introduce the “silver rule”: Mind your head. Yes, it is every athlete’s responsibility to mind their head. Afterall, each athlete has only one noggin. Helmet requirements for sports are widespread. But even with helmet rules and regulations, there is still room for foolishness.