Archive for the ‘Injury’ Category

Most Common Fatal Risks Faced By Outdoor Participants

Surprising causes behind the most common incidents

More than 305 million people visit U.S. national parks each year. The National Park Service reports an average of 160 visitor deaths annually. Those are pretty good statistics, but they could be lower. And the types of injuries and fatalities reported in these parks can happen to anyone in the great outdoors, whether hiking, camping or participating in outdoor sports.

The best way to avoid injuries in these settings is to plan and prepare well. Choose activities that match the experience and skills of everyone involved, Gather information about weather and the environment prior to setting out and ask about specific hazards in the area upon arrival at your destination.  And, of course, always follow the posted rules and regulations. Use of the buddy system can also go a long way in lowering the risk for injury or death: two sets of eyes and ears are better than one.

Below are six of the most common causes of injuries and death in the great outdoors:

  1. Drowning is the most common cause of death in national parks. Sadly, drowning while swimming incidents have increased every year, from 32 in 2007 to 59 in 2013. Boaters, kayakers and rafters also account for many drownings, while fewer than 10 resulted from rip currents.
  2. Vehicular accidents in national parks, surprisingly, account for the second most frequent cause of death in national parks. The National Park Service reported 143 fatalities between 2007and 2013, despite the lack of heavily trafficked roads. Reckless drivers exist everywhere. Six of the accidents involved bicyclists, seven involved pedestrians and 42 of those who died were on motorcycles.
  3. Severe weather conditions such as gusting winds and flash floods cause the fewest fatalities – only eight from 2007 to 2013. However, other environmental factors played a role in deaths. Exposure to cold or heat, avalanches, and rockslides are examples such causes of fatal incidents in the wilderness. Advance preparation and knowledge of existing hazards can prevent being caught in dangerous conditions.
  4. Slips/falls by hikers resulted in 169 deaths in national parks between 2007 and 2013. People falling over cliffs, from trees and rocks, over waterfalls and down slippery slopes are all too common incidents that can result in serious injury and death. Likewise, slipping in streams or on trails covered in wet leaves and brush are the cause of many injuries.
  5. Wildlife sightings are a big draw for visitors to parks and other outdoor areas. Unfortunately, the animals aren’t usually quite as enamored with their human visitors. The most common cause of death by wild animal is attack by grizzly bear. Other animals that commonly present a risk are mountain goats, boars and snakes.
  6. Poisoning by carbon monoxide, drugs, alcohol and toxic plants are very rare, but do occasionally occur.

Source: “How many people actually die in national parks?” foxnews.com. 21 Oct. 2016

Celebrity Trainer Client Suffers Injury and Files Lawsuit

When the trainer or facility is liable

Sore muscles and the occasional pulled ligament at the gym aren’t uncommon and are to be expected. Warming up before exercising and using the equipment correctly are the best ways to prevent injuries. One responsibility of the gym’s staff members and trainers is to assist clients in the proper use of the equipment.

Improper use of equipment and improper supervision can lead to serious trouble for both staff and clients.

A costly fall

A New York woman filed suit against her trainer after she was injured during a training session. According to the suit, Nicole Dickstein, 37, was seriously injured after falling off a balance ball. Dickstein alleges that the ball moved suddenly while she was standing on the side of the ball on one leg holding weights and with no support.

Dickstein’s $250 private training session with celebrity trainer Rich Barretta resulted in a torn hamstring. The injury required extensive surgery that included the insertion of hardware. The suit did not specify the damages Dickstein in seeking. The surgery alone had to run in the many thousands of dollars.

Injuries such as these not only rack up huge medical bills, but can incur the injured person lost wages, emotional trauma, hardship at home, and even derail life events such as weddings and vacations. If the trainer or the gym owner/operator is found liable for the injury, one or both can suffer huge financial losses, not only in compensation to the injured, but in attorney fees, court costs and more.

Protection for health clubs and trainers

We highly recommend that all personal trainers and fitness club owner/operators Treadmills as Health Club Risksread “Risks that Could Put Your Fitness Center Out of Business” and “Injuries at Gyms and Homes.”  

Sadler offers Fitness Instructor Insurance specifically designed to meet the unique needs of personal trainers of all types, including aerobics, yoga, and pilates.. We also offer several Health Club Insurance programs, one of which will meet your facility’s needs. You can get a fast quote by clicking the links above or calling 800-62-07370.


Source: Julia Marsh. “Mom sues celebrity trainer after suffering torn hamstring.” www.nypost.com. 05 Aug. 2016.

Heat Illness: A Potential Bounce House Risk

Is it too early to jump to conclusions?

We’ve all heard tragic stories of kids and pets left unattended in vehicles in hot weather. Some parents and pet owners have simply been distracted for a few moments and suffered the greatest of losses.

One parent, a researcher at the University of Georgia, wondered if bounce houses might pose a similar risk for children. Marshall Shepherd is a professor of geography and atmospheric sciences who saw his own child bouncing in one on a hot day and decided to test his theory. The results of his study, “Do Inflatable Bounce Houses Pose Heat-related Hazards to Children?” was published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Children are more vulnerable to heat exhaustion and other heat illnesses, according to Shepherd’s co-author Andrew Grundstein, also of UGA. Children need to be monitored closely when participating in sports and other physical activities in hot, humid weather. It’s possible they could become overheated in the greenhouse-like environment of a bounce house.

Indicators of potential heat illness can include dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and skin that is moist and flushed.

How hot is hot?

The study’s experiments were conducted on a bounce house on the UGA campus in typical summer weather conditions for Athens, Georgia. Measurements over a five-hour timespan showed that the the bounce house air temperatures were consistently greater than the ambient temperatures. On a 92°F day, the temperature in the inflatable was nearly four degrees higher. When outdoor temperatures exceeded 100° F, the temperatures in the bounce house were almost seven degrees higher.

The heat index, where relative humidity is factored into the actual air temperature to determine how hot it actually feels, was also taken into consideration in the study. The difference in the heat index inside the inflatable was considerably greater than that of the air temperatures. The bounce house’s average heat index reached nearly 104°F, or more than seven degrees than outside, while difference at the peak temperature of 117°F was more eight degrees.

The risk to sports organizations

Some sports organizations bring in bounce houses as fundraisers. General Liability policies for sports organizations often have an exclusion for inflatables due to the risks of injury involved. Recent media accounts have cited examples of serious injuries occurring when improperly anchored inflatables have been lifted high into the air during wind gusts. Inflatable or bounce house operators should always provide proof of General Liability insurance with an each occurrence limit of at least $1 million and name the sports organization as an additional insured.


Source: “Researchers Say Bounce Houses Raise Heat Safety Concern,” www.insurancejournal.com. 10 Aug. 2016.

Skateboarding Injuries

Posted | Filed under Injury

Why one city will be paying the price

Issues of liability at a skate park that isn’t even built yet are causing an uproar in the city of Niagara Falls. Apparently the agreement drawn up by former professional skateboarder Tony Hawk and park designer Aaron Spohn relieves them of any liability. The city’s mayor and community development director accepted a $10,000 grant from Hawk, who included a no-liability clause in the agreement.

And that could cost the city’s taxpayers years and years of litigation fees and settlements defending inevitable injury claims.

Skateboarding is classified as an “extreme sport,” a class that reported over 4 million injuries between 2000 and 2011, according to the New York Times. A 2014 study conducted by Western Michigan University School of Medicine shows that nearly one in every 10 of those involved the head (87%) or neck (17%).  Annually, an estimated 1500 hospitalizations and 50,000 emergency room visits by young skateboarders occur nationwide.

Falling from various heights and while moving at great speeds commonly results in injuries affecting the spine, limbs, and hips. Fractures of the wrist and ankle are the most frequently reported. Concussions also rank very high among skating injuries, according to David Shafron, a Phoenix neurosurgeon.

More skaters were injured while skating on ramps and in skate arenas or parks, according to a 2001 study, while fewer than 10 percent of injuries occurred while skating on roads.  Many skaters lack the training and skills to duplicate the stunts they see professional skaters pull off. Many amateurs also fail to wear safety helmets and padding, which increases the risk of broken bones, concussions, and even life-altering disabilities.

Risk management is the key to lowering the risks for injuries in any sport. We invite you to read our many free articles on injury prevention and risk management. We also offer Skate Park General Liability and Accident insurance. For more information, please call us at (800) 622-7370.


Source: Mike Hudson, “Skateboard Gurus Hawk, Spohn Absolved of Liability for Injuries at New Park Here,” niagarafallsreporter.com. 25 Aug. 2015

Zipline and Ropes Course Safety

Posted | Filed under Injury, Legal

North and South Carolina lacking regulations

Ziplines, rope courses and other commercial aerial amusements have become extremely popular in recent years. But safety regulations across the country vary widely, and two recent deaths highlighted the lack of regulations in both North and South Carolina.

The death of a 16-year old in South Carolina occurred after a fall from a pendulum swing on Sassafras Mountain. In June, a 12-year-old fell to her death from a zipline at YMCA’s Camp Cheerio in North Carolina.

The pendulum swing on Sassafras Mountain, which is tantamount to a Tarzan rope, doesn’t meet the formal definition of an amusement ride in South Carolina and was not inspected by the Office of Elevators and Amusement Rides, according to the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

North Carolina is currently waiting for the governor’s signature on House Bill 39, which calls for an increase in the penalty for illegal operations of amusement apparatuses and mandates a study by the N.C. Department of Labor on regulation of zipline operations.

There is no pending legislation for aerial amusements in South Carolina.

There are two trade organizations that have each published zipline and challenge course standards: the Association for Challenge Course Technology, which has a membership of over 26,000, and the Professional Ropes Course Association, which has over 2500 international members

Founded in 1993, the ACCT accredits builders and certifies inspectors. The rise in popularity of ziplining began nearly a decade later. The PRCA was the industry’s first developer of ANSI-accredited standards.


Source: Karen Chavez, “Carolinas lack oversight of ziplines, swings.” greenvileonline.com. 15 July, 2015.

Children’s bicycle death rates lower than adults

Posted | Filed under Injury

What’s behind the statistics?

Did you know that the death rate of bicyclists killed on the roads is twice that of people who die in vehicles? And that’s despite the fact that bicyclists make up only 1 percent of all road trips in the U.S.

Oddly enough, adults make up the greater number of these deaths. Since 1975, the death rate of children cyclists under age 15 has dropped 92 percent while the adult death rate increased over the same period. The total death rate of cyclists between 1975 and 2012 dropped by 44 percent – a statistic totally driven by fewer child deaths.

These facts could be due to fewer children riding bikes to school than they once did. Today, roughly 13 percent of children ride a bike or walk to school. That’s a precipitous drop from the 48 percent who walked or rode in 1969. Kids today also spend less time participating in outdoor aBicycle death ratectivities like bike riding, preferring to play video games and the company of their cell phones and tablets. Helmet requirements for children may also play a role in the decreased deaths. The number of adults commuting by bicycle, however, has risen since 1975, which could factor into the rise in adult deaths.

The states with the highest bicycle death rates are Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, and California. It’s possible that the increasing popularity in recreational and commuter cycling is an element in the increased death rate. However, Portland, Ore., Austin, and Madison, Wis., are cycle-friendly cities that haven’t experienced an increase in road deaths.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 29,711 cyclist deaths in a period of 38 years. These are cycling fatalities that take place on public roads or that involve a motor vehicle. These NHTSA statistics don’t account for changes in the numbers of people who ride bikes, how often they ride, or how far they ride.


Source: John Tozzi, “Kids’ Biking Deaths Declined but Adults Deaths Rise,” insurancejournal.com. 14 Aug. 2015.

Top 10 Sports & Recreation Injuries

Where’s the outrage for non-football related injuries?

I was reading through a recent list of common sports and recreation injuries and began to wonder why football and other higher risk sports get most of the negative media attention? Why not boating, bicycling, skiing, snowboarding, inflatable moon bounce, ATV, golf carts, or home injuries? Why is the media not screaming for these activities to be banned? Is the media biased against football?

To follow is the recently published list that prompts the question:

  1. Kids ages 5 to 14 made up 52 percent of football-related injuries requiring emergency room visits in 2012.
  2. The U.S. Coast Guard reported 500 deaths, 2,620 injuries and $39 million in property damage related to recreational boating accidents in 2013.
  3. Alcohol use is the no. 1 contributing factor in fatal boating accidents and contributes to 16 percent of boating-related deaths.
  4. The top five contributing factors to boating accidents are operator inexperience, operator inattention, improper lookout, excessive speed and machinery failure.
  5. The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration reported 720 bicyclists killed and 49,000 injured in motor vehicle accidents in 2012.
  6. Risk of injury in bicycle sportsAn average of 41.5 people died in skiing or snowboarding accidents each year between 2002 and 2012.
  7. More than 90 percent of the 113,272 injuries treated in emergency rooms associated with inflatable amusements were related to moon bounces between 2003 and 2013.
  8. Between 1982 and 2013, 13,043 ATV-related deaths were reported.
  9. Approximately 13,000 golf cart-related accidents require a visit to the emergency room each year.
  10. In 2012 there were approximately 89,000 accidental injury-related deaths in homes and communities nationwide.

It goes without saying that good risk management practices could have prevented many of these injuries and deaths. Whether you’re competing in sports or enjoying leisure recreational activities indoors or out, safety should always be a priority. Visit our risk management page for helpful information on keeping you, your teammates, friends and family safe.


Source: Spotlight, Insurance Journal,  04 May, 2015, Vol. 93, No. 9.

Bounce House Injuries

Lack of safety regulations means bouncer beware

Bounce houses are popular entertainment at carnivals, children’s parties, and other events. But news stories about flyaway bounce houses are becoming all too common.

More than 30 children a day are treated in emergency rooms across the country for inflatable-related injuries, such as broken bones and concussions. There were more than 113,000 injuries and 12 deaths associated with inflatables nationwide between 2003 and 2013, according to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report.

Inflatables, which include bounce houses, water slides, and bounce-slide combinations, are not regulated nationally. Each state sets its own guidelines and some, like Florida and Nebraska, have no safety or operational standards in place.

Renters and users should be aware of the guidelines in their state and make sure the company providing the inflatable is practicing them. Ask to see the rental company’s inspection checklist and make sure they followed the printed warning labels when setting up the inflatable.

The Child Injury Prevention Alliance website offers bounce house safety tips for parents and children.

Inflatable-Bouncers-Infographic 3

 

Source:Dan Krauth, “Company Behind Bounce House That Went Airborne Involved in Another Accident,” nbcmiami.com. 08 June, 2015.

Treadmills Account for Most Equipment-related Health Club Injuries

And most are preventable

The treadmill is the riskiest of all workout machines because it has a motor that propels it, unlike ellipticals and stationary bicycles. However, most injuries are minor and deaths, as in the David Goldberg case, are rare.

There were an average of three treadmill-related deaths per year reported between 2003 and 2013, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. There were 24,400 treadmill-related injuries requiring emergency room visits reported in 2014.  There were 62,700 injuries related to exercise equipment, which includes weights, trampolines, swimming pools, and golf clubs. Treadmills account for the largest number of injuries in that category.

Treadmill injuriesEmergency room doctors report that the majority of injuries from sports equipment are associated with overuse, such as an injured tendon from a long run on a treadmill.

Treadmill accidents tend to occur more frequently among older and inexperienced users. Getting instructions on use of the machine is key in avoiding treadmill accidents and consulting with a physician before embarking on treadmill activity is highly recommended for seniors.

Unknown heart problems can surface with exercise, which can cause people to die suddenly while exercising. These types of hidden heart problems can be caused by a genetic abnormality or chronic coronary disease that cannot withstand strenuous exercise. Heart problems account for about 80 percent of sudden deaths in which people collapse and are unable to be resuscitated.

For more information see “Injuries at Gyms and Home.”

Source: Sabrina Tavernise, “Treadmill May Be Riskiest Machine,” nytimes.com, 05 May, 2015.

Medical Emergencies in Youth Sports

CPR and first aid training for coaches is critical

Sadler Sports and Recreation Insurance has always been a strong advocate of youth sports coaches and volunteers receiving first aid and emergency training. Injuries and medical emergencies can occur anywhere, at anytime to anyone, especially in a sporting environment. Coaches and other adults in attendance during practices and play have to be able to respond in such cases. Unfortunately, only 40 percent of youth coaches have any safety training, according to a 2012 SafeKids Worldwide survey.

There’s really no excuse for such lack of training because certification classes in first aid and CPR are offered in every community for free or very little cost. It’s the responsibility of the sports organization and local community to ensure that coaches and volunteers have access to the training needed to respond appropriately to an injury or life-threatening event.

Empowering your volunteers

In particular, the education of volunteers in safety procedures strengthens the sports program. Volunteers offer their time and energy in so many capacities. They should be given the tools they need to be an even greater help, which means safety training or recertification at no cost to them. And it’s important to remember that coaches and volunteers serve as safety role models for the youth with whom they’re working. Older athletes should be encouraged to register for CPR and first aid certification courses, as well.

No matter what sport you’re involved with, the unexpected can occur. Here are a few examples of emergency situations where immediate administration of first-aid made all the difference to the injured person.

  • An Alabama high school football player collapsed during the first practice of the season. Coaches and the athletic trainer sprang into action, quickly determining a case of cardiac arrest after seeing no signs of concussion, heat stroke or dehydration. The trainer used the school’s AED while waiting for EMTs to arrive on the scene. The teen survived, thanks to the safety training his coaches had received.
  • An Oregon varsity high school basketball game was unexpectedly interrupted when an official collapsed on the court. Quick thinking staff, students and medical professionals in the stands rushed to his aid, administering CPR until an ambulance arrived.
  • An 8-year-old youth baseball player collapsed after being hit in the chest by a batted ball. It was his good fortune that two off-duty paramedics who were in the stands were able to administer CPR until paramedics arrived and transported him to the hospital.

You can’t count on there being someone nearby who will know what to do in a medical emergency. Whether the injured person is one of the athletes, a trainer, an official or a fan in the stands, the coaches are who people will look to for help in an emergency.

Getting the necessary training

The American Red Cross offers CPR/AED training as well as specific first aid, health and safety training for sports coaches. Because CPR techniques and use of AEDs on children and adults differ, it’s important that coaches receive training for medical assistance for both age groups

The National Alliance for Youth Sports encourages all volunteer coaches get CPR training. Their website offers member coaches access to a first aid and CPR section full of safety information, including how to develop an emergency action plan. NAYS also offers free concussion training for coaches and volunteers.