Archive for the ‘Risk Management’ Category

Ensuring Security at Special Events

Tips for planning and executing event security

The security staff you see at sporting events, festivals, concerts and other special events didn’t just show up 30 minutes before the gates opened. The event hosts did a lot of planning long before the event to ensure the safety and security of the participants and guests. If you’re organization is planning a special event that requires security, here are some tips when hiring a security firm that can help make your special event run as smoothly as possible.

You get what you pay for

Your budget is obviously an important component in planning your event. However, different types of events require different levels of training and skills from the security team. Some security firms specialize in high-end security that includes highly trained, retired law enforcement and/or military personnel. Other companies may hire individuals with little training but who may appear threatening due to their size  (think nightclub bouncer). And there’s everything in between.

Sporting events can give rise to heated confrontations among spectators, sometimes resulting in physical fights. Alcoholic beverages being served can also give rise to rowdy behavior. In such cases, you want individuals trained to diffuse the situation and maintain peace, not escalate things. It’s also important that your security staff know when it’s time to call in local law enforcement before things get out of control.

It’s critical that no matter what level of security firm you hire that it be licensed, bonded and insured. In the event of a security incident, you want to transfer the risk of damage or injury to the security firm. If you don’t, your organization and anyone involved in the planning can be held liable if allegations are made of inadequate security or personal injury by one of the security staff.

It’s all in the planning

You can’t expect your security team to arrive at the event 30 minutes before your event begins and get a brief rundown of what’s expected of them. Security for any size event takes pre-planning, typically months or even a year in advance.

At your first planning meeting, the security company should review with you details about who will be attending (i.e. participant and spectator demographics), hours of operation and expected busiest times, alcohol permits, vendors, parking arrangements and much more. These details determine the number of security staff required for the job and strategic placement of staff throughout the event  

Special Events InsuranceIt’s important that your security firm is familiar with your local law enforcement agency, your venue, and the surrounding area of your event. It’s important to note that you may, depending on the type of event, be required to submit a security plan to your town or city in order to obtain a permit. Festivals/concerts in public parks and road races are examples of events that may require permits. Large events like these often need traffic control. Your security team may need to meet in advance with law enforcement to go over how public parking and traffic flow will be handled during the event.

Outdoor events always need a contingency plan in case of bad weather. Your Plan B should be discussed in detail with the security firm long before it goes into action.

Don’t forget to inform the security firm of any specific concerns you may have during the planning meeting. These could be issues such as terrorism, gang activity, or heated competitions between rival sports teams.

Financial planning

This isn’t about your budget, but about keeping your funds secure. If you’re charging an entry fee or selling food, beverages and souvenirs, that money is at risk for being stolen. At your planning meeting ask if security staff can periodically collect funds from concessions or gatekeepers for safekeeping in a designated area under lock and key. Sadly, the chances of a guest stealing the money are much lower than those of your own staff and volunteers pocketing easily accessible cash.

Dealing with accidents and questions

Injuries and illness can occur anywhere to anyone. Sporting events in particular are high risk for injuries. Some security firms supply EMTs so be sure to ask. Location of the medical tent and plans for ambulance access should be discussed at your planning meeting as well.

It’s a good idea to set up a guest services area and have event staff and volunteers all wearing matching shirts, preferably with “Event Staff” printed on the back. Your security team should be aware ahead of the event of who is on staff and where guests can be pointed to in order to get assistance.

After the crowd goes home

It’s recommended, and usually welcomed by your security firm, that you have a post-event meeting to review what worked well and what didn’t, and discuss any problems that may have occurred that nobody thought about in advance. Your security company wants your business and you don’t want to have to shop around for another company for your next event. A review of this type goes a long way in building a strong working relationship.

Source: Jeff Croissette. “Effective Planning for Event Security.” 26 Sept. 2016.

6 Tech Tips for Sports Organizations

Keeping you technologically safe and running smoothly

Almost every youth sports organization has a paid employee or volunteer who is responsible for managing the organization’s website, accounting system, databases, registration system, game and tournament schedules, employee and volunteer work schedules and maybe even social media accounts.

Incoming and current technical managers can benefit from the tips below on efficiency and security offered below.

  • Take stock of the technology you have. The first step in maintaining safe and functional technology is knowing exactly what you have.  Set up a spreadsheet of all your software and hardware systems. Record the product names and versions, where each was purchased and contract end dates. You’ll have all the information you need in one place – preferably where others in the organization can access it if necessary.


  • Talk to your predecessor.  If you’re the incoming tech manager, make sure to have a conversation with the outgoing manager and pick his/her brains about any past or present problems, potential upgrades, and any glitches in the operation. It’s critical that you obtain all the login information for your systems, programs and websites. It’s just as important to know who else has access to this information and to change passwords that former administrators, staff or volunteers may have.  This includes revoking administrator privileges to the outgoing director.


  • Where is everything?It’s important to learn where all the organization’s data is stored – both electronic and paper. If possible, scan paper files into PDF format for online storage. The organization’s data should not be stored on anyone’s personal computer. If multiple users need access, consider using Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, DropBox or another cloud service. They’re more secure, accessible from anywhere, and free!


  • You are your website. Maybe your responsibilities include maintaining the association’s website and managing its social media accounts.Your website is the face of your organization. Review it with a keen eye and see what needs updated and delete anything not related to the current or next year. Make sure it’s mobile responsive, which means the layout and images can be viewed correctly on a tablet or smart phone.  Make sure your site is secure, with at least 256-bit encryption.

    Think twice about letting a player’s parent offer to build and host a website and link it to your social media as an act of goodwill or a money-saving effort. All too frequently these helpful people become less eager or simply disappear as they change jobs, their kids age out of the program, move, or simply become too busy. Depending on such a person to get your website up and continuing to run smoothly can be disastrous. Better to rely on a company that provides technical and customer service when you need it.


  • Get feedback.  Who, other than parents, coaches and board members, would know what’s working and what isn’t? No one! Take the time to ask them if they’re experiencing problems registering players, making payments, etc. Ask if they have suggestions for improvement. Consider emailing a survey asking for feedback. You may not be able to implement all the suggestions, but being a good listener, taking their complaints seriously, and attending to issues quickly calms frustrations and  builds trust.

    As the tech director, you’ll be one of the most sought after people in your association. Therefore, document everything you do in a spreadsheet, from dates of technical repairs to conversations with vendors. You’ll be glad you did when someone raises questions and you have the answers at your fingertips.


  • Liability Concerns from websites and social media.  And finally, you must protect yourself from your liabilities arising from breach of confidential information due to a hacker attack, invasion of privacy, and a libelous posts on your website or social media. These risks are not adequately covered by most General Liability policies due to various exclusions. Many Directors & Officers Liability policies are now offering coverage extensions with sub limits of coverage to address these risks. Or, a stand-alone Cyber Risk policy may be purchased for associations with heavy exposure. Contact Sadler Sports & Recreation insurance for more information on these policies.

Source:  Paul Langhorst. “8 Tips for the New Sports Association Technology Director.” 29 Oct., 2015.

The Truth About Concussion Risk Management in Youth Football

How to Plan a Youth Football Brain Injury Risk Management Program

Local associations must adopt and implement a concussion/brain injury management program to battle looming liability crisis.

For the past three years, Sadler Sports & Recreation Insurance has been urging our youth tackle football clients to implement comprehensive brain injury risk management programs to help to prevent injuries and resulting lawsuits from becoming insurance claims. In the event that a lawsuit is filed by an injured participant, whether from a single concussion, multiple concussions, or cumulative traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), it is crucial for a local association to show that it has complied with the national standard of care for brain injury protection. Doing so not only protects the players against injuries and the association and staff against lawsuits, but also protects the General Liability insurance carrier, which makes it more likely that brain injury coverage will be available in the future.

Standard of care owed is determined by state legislation, case law, sanctioning and governing bodies, risk management resources, and expert witnesses

In a negligence-based lawsuit, the claimant filing the lawsuit must prove that a duty was owed, the duty was breached, and that the breach was the cause of the damages. The duty that is owed is also known as the standard of care. The standard of care to protect against brain injury for youth football players will be determined by state legislation, case law, sanctioning and governing bodies, risk management resources, and expert witnesses.

Depending on the source, some standards are mandated and others are recommended or are just guidelines. However, understand that the claimant’s attorney will argue that even recommended standards and guidelines should be implemented by a reasonable and prudent youth football association.

9 Elements of a solid written risk management program for youth football associations

The following elements should be considered by local tackle football associations when developing their concussion/brain injury risk management program.

  1. Written program

A written risk management program should be adopted by board action and communicated to all administrators, staff, players, and parents. A written program that builds in accountability is much more likely to be implemented than a program that is not in writing.

  1. Educational awareness through online training and information handouts

Coaches should receive training and certification in both 1) concussion basics for youth sports through the CDC Concussion Training CourseNAYS Concussion Training Course, or a similar online course, and 2) a tackle training program on how to remove the head from the tackle such as through Seahawks Tackling.

Players and Parents should receive and be required to sign off and return to the association a concussion fact sheet handout from the CDC or a similar source at the beginning of every season.

  1. Document retention

The local association should maintain documentation of coach training certificates and player/parent fact sheets for 15 years. Note that a 5-year-old child may wait until age 20 in many states before filing a lawsuit for a past injury.

  1. Baseline and post injury neurocognitive testing

This is a rapidly changing area with the emergence of new, lower-cost technologies where baseline and post-injury testing can be delivered on the sidelines through smart phones and tablets. So far, baseline neurocognitive testing is considered to be a voluntary measure in most instances.

  1. Identify suspected cases of concussions

The highest medical authority (M.D., D.O.,  athletic trainer, or person with EMT or Red Cross certification) at a practice or game should make the call in terms of signs observed by parents, guardians, or sports staff and symptoms reported by player. The highest authority must be aware of danger signs that would result in an immediate trip to the emergency room and in questions to ask and exertional maneuvers to perform to identify a potential concussion. Identification of potential concussions is a rapidly evolving area with a number of new tools that have recently hit the market or that will soon be available, such as helmet impact indicators, smart phone/tablet apps for sideline testing of memory and fine motor coordination to compare to baseline results, tablet eye-tracking devices, telemedicine with doctors via smart phones, etc.

  1. Actions to take if a concussion is suspected

Remove the athlete from play, make sure the athlete is evaluated by an M.D. or D.O., inform parents through the CDC fact sheet, and keep the athlete out of play until written return-to-play medical clearance is received from a qualified medical provider. Some state concussion laws allow return-to-play medical clearance by a “health care provider” which may also encompass professionals such as physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners.

  1. Reduce full contact during practices

The Datalys Study by Kerr indicates that limiting contact at practice may reduce concussions in youth tackle football. Governing and sanctioning bodies have started to adopt contact limitation guidelines.

  1. Proper fitting and care of helmets

This has always been and continues to be of critical importance in protecting youth football players from head and neck injuries. A number of online guides and videos are available from helmet manufacturers to assist coaches and equipment managers in this area. A list of these sources can be found on the risk management section of our website.

  1. Compliance with state concussion laws and governing body and sanctioning body requirements or recommendations

Any risk management program should comply with the standards as prescribed by state concussion legislation (this only applies to schools in some states) and governing body (USAFB) and sanctioning body (AYF, Pop Warner) requirements and recommendations.

Based on my 30 years of experience in the sports insurance niche and the potential for brain injury litigation, I would not want to be a board member or staff member involved with a youth tackle football organization that did not have an effective, formally-adopted and fully-implemented written concussion/brain injury risk management program.

Sadler Sports & Recreation Insurance has developed a sample concussion/brain injury risk management program for our youth football clients that incorporates the elements listed above and that can be downloaded from our website in WORD document format.

5 Elements of Good Officiating

Navigating conflict resolution in sports

It may seem ironic to have a discussion on conflict resolution in sports when sports are by their nature all about opposition. But sports officials deal with different types of conflict in the course of their duties, most frequently with coaches.  

A coach’s goal is to win. An official’s goal is to mediate fair play. These two goals often result in conflict, especially if a coach’s attitude is to win at all costs. So it’s not surprising that differences of opinion sometimes result in tempers flaring, harsh words being exchanged, and even physical altercations. But officials can approach these conflicts using the following approaches to effectively minimize or resolve clashes.

  1. Professionalism: Presenting yourself as a professional includes your physical appearance and knowledge of the game. Arriving to the event early in a clean uniform is the first step in making a good impression and gaining respect. Knowing the rules is paramount. Officials can be excused for missing a call, but not for misinterpreting or misstating the rules. Coaches, players and spectators know when an official is prepared and working hard on the playing field.
  2. Approachability: While officials are the authority figure, players and coaches need them to be approachable when conflicts arise. Discussions should not be taking place over every call, but valid questions should be allowed to be voiced respectfully, which usually defuses tensions. Coaches who dispute a call typically just want to be heard, since reversals are rare. When agreements can’t be reached, the goal should be to at least agree to disagree so play can resume peacefully. A coach’s perspective of the issue is usually different from an official’s. It can be helpful to listen and let him or her know you understand their point of view, but are guided by the rules (see point 1) and that there are channels for lodging official complaints after the game.
  3. Communication: Approximately 55 percent of the information we communicate is transmitted Sports official insurancenon-verbally, which means we use facial expressions, eye contact, gestures and posture.  A fuming coach may not be saying much, but his or her body language is speaking volumes. Officials should be paying attention to the non-verbal messages being relayed by players and coaches before they boil over and become verbally abusive or even physical in nature. Listen with your ears and your eyes.
  4. Emotional control: Conflicts often result in emotional responses that can even draw in people not directly involved in the issue, such as players and spectators. You can’t control how these people will respond to a situation, but you can control your own response. The responsibility of the official is to calmly settle confrontations, not become embroiled in them. This can be difficult when the official is the target of anger and blame. But counting to 10 before responding can go a long way in keeping things from escalating. Barking orders for coaches to calm down or get off the field or deflecting blame onto a fellow referee (“I didn’t make the call.”) erodes everyone’s respect for your authority and only serves to inflame an already tense situation.
  5. Humor: Poking fun at yourself or the general situation can be an excellent way to break up tension and win people over. It might not resolve the actual issue, but humor is is a universal stress reliever. This doesn’t mean laughing at the coaches or making light of a valid conflict, but laughing with the coaches put you on a level playing field and shows that everyone is doing their best in his or her role.

Many of the tense situations referenced above should never occur in the youth or school sports context if coaches and parents follow the various codes of conduct that are published by governing and sanctioning bodies and similar organizations. Also, the suggested techniques can help to diffuse situations before they boil over. However, the reality is that heated disputes often occur in the sports context. A quick study of the loss runs of our sports insurance clients indicate too many fights and resulting serious injuries and lawsuits between officials and coaches or spectators. The alleged aggressor can either be the official or the coach or spectator.

If the alleged aggressor is the official, such official will likely be seeking General Liability and possibly Accident protection through membership in a national association or coverage for officials under the local league policy. Claims may be unexpectedly denied by the General Liability carrier if the Assault & Battery exclusion is present on the policy. For that reason, we recommend that this exclusion be removed.

Sadler Sports Insurance offers affordable, high quality Accident and General Liability coverage for umpire/referee associations. We offer instant online quote/pay/print for this type of coverage. Please visit our website or call us if you have any questions.

Source: Jimm Paull. “Conflict Resolution and the Basketball Official,” Sportorials. January, 2016.

Top 5 Sports Risks Resulting in Insurance Claims

You need to know them to try to prevent them, but sports insurance still a must

Accidents can happen any time, to anyone, on and off the sports field. Many aren’t even related to playing the sport itself, and many result in serious injuries. Sadly, a large portion of them can be prevented with a little attention to hot spots and putting into place proven risk management policies. However, others are just part of the game.

We take pride in offering our clients risk management advice in an effort to prevent claims. We hope you’ll be able to avoid making the top 5 list:

  1. Wayward balls are the cause of more claims for damages and injuries than anything else in sports. Baseballs in particular are high-speed missiles that slam into players, dugouts, spectators, cars, windows, and anything else in their path. Wild pitches, overthrown lacrosse balls and basketballs, and baseballs hit out of the park are only some of ways balls can cause injuries. A real horror story to a client occurred when an assistant coach was struck in the face by a pitched baseball while warming up the pitcher. He later lapsed into a coma and died of his injuries resulting in total claims cost of $1,001,000.
  2. Falls by players, coaches, spectators, groundskeepers and officials are by far the most common sports injury. Holes in the field, slippery or wet surfaces, obstacles in or around the field, bases, field markers, and equipment cause people to fall. Falls from bleachers, benches, ladders, playground equipment, backstops, and goals are also not uncommon. Broken, sprained or twisted limbs can result in expensive medical bills and even time off work. Falls can even result result in death.  One of our baseball leagues had a claim that settled for $41,781 where a spectator fractured both ankles after stepping in a washed out grassy area of a ballpark.
  3. Vehicles of all sorts are involved in numerous sports-related claims. Many can be avoided if parking and traffic flow signage is displayed properly. Delivery trucks backing into concession stands, golf carts and riding mowers overturning, tents and awnings collapsing on vehicles, tractors hitting parked cars, vandalism, and balls flying through windshields are common incidents at the ballpark. One of our baseball leagues experienced a claim where a person was injured by being pinned between a scoreboard table and golf cart with a resulting settlement of $50,000.
  4. Roughhousing and unsupervised children can cause all sorts of mayhem. Playing or climbing on goals, vehicles, bleachers, gates and fences frequently ends in injuries. This includes unattended children in play areas, near water, or in wooded areas of the park. It’s also not unusual for players to be swinging bats or tossing/kicking balls in areas where others can be hurt, such as concession areas, parking lots and near bleachers. And in heated competitions, it’s not unusual for fights to break out among spectators or between players on the field. An example of this type of claim was when one of our local league clients was sued as a result of children climbing on statue at an awards banquet which caused $4,789 in damage to Sports insurance claimsa water fountain.
  5. Player collisions with other players, spectators and equipment are common. Baseball, soccer, football, and basketball players frequently collide with one another on the field, often resulting in concussions, fractured limbs, and other injuries. Basketball and football players often crash into spectators on the sidelines. And it’s not unusual for players to collide with teammates and coaches on the bench, down markers, goals, and bleachers. One of our clients had a situation where a youth football player was driven into a 1st down marker and fractured his arm. The insurance settlement was $75,000.

These are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to accidents that can happen in and around sports. The examples listed on this page are expected to occur with some frequency. However, it’s often the unexpected types of claims that result in some of the largest payouts. You just never know what can happen and that’s why you must have quality sports insurance. We have a whole list of horror stories about what can go wrong on our risk management page, which also includes lots of free risk management material.

The Rate of Abuse and Molestation in Youth Sports

How prevalent is it?

The media makes sure we know when allegations and indictments of sexual abuse take place in our communities, particularly when children are the victims. Schools, religious and recreational youth organizations are ripe for the picking by such predators.

But a recent study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that instances of all types of abuse within youth organizations are actually quite rare. The researchers surveyed more than 13,000 children, including infants and children to age 17. The results show that less than 1 percent reported any type of abuse. And of that percentage, only 6.4 percent reported some type of sexual abuse.

The bad news

As encouraging as that is, it still means the up to 100,000 children may be subjected to sexual abuse while participating in youth-oriented activities.

The study results point out another point for concern. Of the children surveyed who reported abuse, 64 percent said the abuse was emotional or verbal, specifically saying they had felt scared or bad because an adult “called you names, said mean things to you, or said they didn’t want you.” That puts estimates at 1 million children being subjected to abuse of a non-physical nature, which is 10 times the number of those being sexually abused.

Defining abuse

It’s important to note that the statistics of abuse are never exact, in part due to underreporting of incidents, but also because of the different definitions of the word abuse. Government agencies use a legal definition, while JAMA Pediatrics’ criteria is whether the child feels he or she has been abused. In fact, the final conclusion of the study is that abuse in youth organizations is relatively rare and is dwarfed by abuse perpetrated by family members and other adults.

Preventing and combating abuse

Nonetheless, parents need to be aware of their child’s youth organization’s policies and procedures regarding screening and training of staff and volunteers. And parents should work together to make sure at least one parent is at every event, practice and game who is tasked with monitoring the behavior of staff and volunteers.

At Sadler Sports Insurance, we know that abuse and molestation incidents, while rare, result in very expensive claims and demand serious risk management attention. Our risk management page has a section with resources devoted to abuse and molestation prevention. Our resources range from a simple one-page abuse/molestation risk management program to a comprehensive seven page programs that covers all aspects from A to Z. We also have sex abuse and molestation training videos for your administrators and staff.

Source: Janet Rosenweig. “What is the rate of child abuse in schools, rec groups?” 01 Feb. 2016.

Zip Line Safety

Lowering the risk of aerial adventures

What was once a means to access forest canopies for ecological research is now a rapidly growing adventure experience offered in many forests, amusement parks and ski resorts across the country. Many forest zip line tours continue to encourage ecology awareness and appreciation, while others are primarily promoting them as an aerial adventure to thrill-seeking tourists.

An estimated 18 million people fly via zip lines each year making it one of the fastest growing commercial adventures, according to the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT). But along with the excitement and thrills comes the risk of serious injuries if safety precautions aren’t taken and equipment isn’t properly maintained.

A typical zip line course consists of cables traversing and crossing a route that slopes downward across a forest, canyon, body of water, valley, or ravine. Access to the zip line is usually via ground-level platforms, stairways, or ladders. Participants are protected from falls with harnesses, lanyards,and clips ,and are often required to wear helmets. Speed and braking are controlled either by a guide, gravity or the participant.

The risk of injury to zip line riders is high, which is why the ACCT and ASTM are currently developing Zip line risk managementcommercial zip line safety standards. Only Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia currently have zip line regulations.

A common injury suffered by zip liners is bone fractures, which are usually caused by participants falling from the access platform or slamming into the end station. However, much more severe injuries can and do occur. The best protection is in proper management by owners/operators:

  • Design and construction: The zip line supports should be set in concrete for optimal bracing. The cable arc’s lowest point should be high enough to prevent riders from crashing into the final post. Rollers guards should be installed to prevent hand injuries. The starting platform should be protected and customers tethered while on the platform.
  • Maintenance: Regular inspections should be conducted and documented. Daily inspections should made of all starting platforms, riding seats/handles and safety harnesses. Cable tension should be monitored and adjusted as needed.  Harness and brake padding should not show signs of wear and tear. Cables should be replaced per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Supervision: Participants should take a trainer-led safety course prior to take-off and be monitored by trained staff at all times. An employee should be present at both ends of the course. Zip line guides and operators should be fully trained to screen clients, fit and inspect equipment, inspect and maintain the course,and  rescue clients and evacuate the course. Zip line employees should  also be CPR certified and trained in first aid. Minimum age and size requirements should be posted and no one not meeting the posted limits should be permitted to ride.

If you have questions or would like information on insuring your zip line, call Sadler Sports and Recreation Insurance at (800) 622-7370.

Source: Lothian Law, 27 May 2014


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,” 08 June, 2015.

Football Leagues Ignoring Brain Injury Standards…

do so at their own peril

If your youth tackle football league and its directors, officers, and coaches are sued as a result of a brain injury to a current or past participant, under what standard of care will you be judged?

The law of negligence is based on four elements:

  1. Duty is owed to act as reasonable and prudent youth tackle football and cheer administrators and coaches by following the national standard of care regarding to concussion/brain injury protection.
  2. Duty is breached by not following the national standard of care.
  3. The breach is the cause of the injury.
  4. Damages result.

 As regards the standard of care, the courts will look to expert witnesses who will testify that the standards of care are set by the recommendations of the governing body (USA Football), National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), and state concussion insurance

We have designed a concussion/brain injury risk management program for our American Youth Football and Cheer (AYF) clients that addresses most of the standards that have been set by these organizations and state legislation. See our Football/Cheer Concussion Awareness Risk Management Program (short form) in our risk management library.

If you want to see how standards work in an actual brain injury litigation case, see the synopsis and summary of the pending Chernach vs. Pop Warner lawsuit by a law firm specializing in brain injury litigation. Ask yourself how you think your local association would fare in its legal defense if a similar claim were to be filed? In my opinion, most of the allegations in this lawsuit seem to be without merit, though legal defense costs will be high. Very few of the concussion standards were in place at the time of the alleged injury and the plaintiff was exposed to high school football and 12 years of wrestling in addition to youth tackle football.

However, concussion/brain injury standards are certainly in place now. Ignore the standards at your own peril.