Archive for the ‘Sportsplex Facility Owners/Operators’ Category

New App Makes Staffing Athletic Trainers a Breeze

Guest Blogger: Ricky Schwartzberg of Go4Ellis

The Go4Ellis platform efficiently links athletic trainers with sports event operators looking to hire medical professionals for their events. Athletic trainers register for free accounts and set up a professional profile, including proof of licensure, liability insurance, and other legal requirements.  All athletic trainers on Go4Ellis must be members of the National Athletic Training Association. Similarly, event operators can register for accounts and post upcoming work opportunities and pay rates. We currently work with tournament operators, camp directors, athletic directors, club coaches, and leagues in 24 states.

Go4Ellis also handles all the little details around hiring hourly athletic trainers. Payment is fully automated through the platform, so no checks to write and send.  Additionally, Go4Ellis also handles all year-end tax documentation for both athletic trainers and event operators, and auto-generates an emergency action plan for every venue at your event.

Now if you’ve never staffed athletic trainers at your events you may want to re-think that approach.  Athletic trainers (ATs) are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions. Athletic trainers work under the direction of a physician as prescribed by state licensure statutes.

On-site at your event, athletic trainers are trained to save lives, stabilize emergency situations, and make the tough return-to-play decisions for each athlete.  By taking return-to-play decisions away from coaches and tournament directors, athletic trainers provide protection to the player and, by extension, remove liability from the coach, the team and your event.

Go4Ellis makes staffing athletic trainers simple.  No more calling around, posting on a listserv, or using a staffing service with highly marked up rates.  Just set up a free account on Go4Ellis, post the dates and times you need athletic trainers and the hourly rate you are offering, and let athletic trainers come to you.

If you have any questions just email us! – contactus@go4ellis.com

Need an athletic trainer for an upcoming event? Click here for more information or to schedule a demo!

Managing Risks to Participants and Spectators at Special Events

Precautions can save lives and lawsuits

Community calendars are full of local organizations sponsoring tournaments, festivals, outdoor fundraisers, races, craft fairs and more. You’ll likely attend at least one yourself in any given season.

Those putting on such events are responsible for the safety and security of attendees, participants and vendors. That even includes, in some cases, their property. Weather is one risk that can’t be controlled, but Special event risk managementother potential risks can be mitigated.

Event organizers need to develop a risk management plan long before the event takes place. First-time planners should realize this is as important as planning the venue, advertising, catering, entertainment and other aspects of an event. There are everyday incident types that can occur, like a collapsed tent or injured runner. But terrorist attacks and active shooters at public venues in recent years drastically changed security protocols for public events.

A lot can go wrong

Every event requires preparation, of course. And each step offers opportunities to consider what could go wrong and how to prevent it. Below are some general steps that can be taken to lower the risk of injuries.

  • Law Enforcement and Fire Department: Police presence at the event, in parking lots and directing traffic improves security drastically. Consider requesting bomb-sniffing K-9 units. Notify the fire department well in advance of the event.
  • Registrant/Vendor Check-in: Require participants to provide a photo I.D. at registration to receive their packets/T-shirts/bibs. Vendors should also provide proof they are contracted to be at the event.
  • Baggage Check: Consider making a policy that guests can only bring in clear plastic bags. Otherwise, set a limit on the size and number of bags, totes, or backpacks attendees may carry in.
  • First Aid and Safety Station: Post clearly visible signs designating the location of the first-aid and customer relations stations. Arrange for an ambulance and EMTs to be present for the duration of the event. We recommend that a physician, athletic trainer and/or registered nurse be in attendance at any sporting event.
  • Volunteer Staff: Station your volunteers (wearing event T-shirts, hats or armbands) throughout the venue. This includes parking areas, to monitor the crowds, assist attendees, answer questions, and direct the flow of automobile and pedestrian traffic

Special Events Game Changers

We all know about game changers. Sometimes it’s a certain player, a momentum swing, the venue or fans. Other times it’s an event that makes us stop and rethink our views on one particular topic or another. The bombings at 2013 Boston Marathon qualify as a game changer.

It’s often a catastrophe that makes us re-evaluate our priorities. The Boston Bombings forced us to address our personal safety and the safety of participants at sporting events.

Increasing event security

In attempts to strengthen event security at its football games, the NFL banned spectators from bringing in purses, coolers, backpacks and other miscellany. Some view this as overkill. Others view it as the natural evolution in the continual ramp up of security measures in a volatile setting.

The tech revolution

The technology boom is also helping to strengthen event security. While closed-circuit television is still the Event securityindustry’s main method, the use of cellphones proves the most beneficial in enforcing safety regulations at sporting events. And not just among event staff. Many venues advertise a number for spectators to text or call if other patrons become unruly or are acting suspiciously.

And did you know there are apps available for reporting security issues? Fans may now anonymously submit complaints/observations using ISS 24/7 (or other) software. Game changer!

In addition to security hotlines, social media helps monitor patrons at sporting events. People love Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Many sports teams and event management companies use these tools to their advantage. They post on their accounts to spread the word of inclement weather, evacuation notices and other pertinent information.

Smartphones are good for more than just checking your Twitter feed. They are also important in documenting fan behavior at games, both good and bad.  In a world where anyone can be famous on the Internet, staying on your best behavior can mean the difference between YouTube fame and infamy.

Special Events May Require Special Coverage

Every event is different, and safety should be priority No. 1. The security measure you put in place depends on its size, venue, attendance and other factors. And while some will stretch your budget, you’re not saving anything by taking unnecessary risks.

There is one element of the planning stage that should never be overlooked. Determining whether your insurance program includes the coverage needed for a safe event for everyone involved. That includes the hosts, participants, volunteers, vendors and guests.

There are risks involved in hosting and managing special events that may require either added short-term or annual coverage. Check with your agent about the following areas that require particular attention as you plan your event.

Vendors

Vendors can include caterers, tent and equipment rentals, concessions, security, and parking attendants. Sports risk managmentResearch your vendors thoroughly because poor service or a mishap on their part can spoil an entire event. Think of the potential consequences of a collapsed tent or food poisoning. It’s critical that each of your vendors provide you with a valid certificate of insurance evidencing General Liability with a limit of at least $1 million each occurrence. Require that they can add your organization as an additional insured on their policy.

Venues

It’s not unheard of for the actual venue of an event to be a factor that causes an accident or injury claim. Stages collapse, fire exits get blocked, and severe weather sometimes triggers the need for fast evacuations. The more knowledge you have about the number of people attending the event, the electrical equipment needed, and potential for severe weather, the better prepared you will be. For indoor events, make sure you know the emergency protocols of the building. This includes knowing where all the fire extinguishers, exits and stairwells are located. For outdoor events, be sure the terrain and any light/sound rigging are properly installed. Monitor the weather in the days leading up to the event as well as during the event – storms can pop up unexpectedly with disastrous results. Weather apps for smartphones alert you to severe weather watches and warnings.

Emergency Planning

Every event should have a unique emergency plan that all staff and volunteers receive and sign confirming they have read it. The emergency plan should include who has the authority to shut the event down or ask a vendor to vacate. Sudden storms, a shooter in the area, or a vendor with a lapsed permit are only a few examples of when someone may need to make an on-the-spot decision.  The emergency plan should also include a protocol for announcing a closing or changes in the event programming. It goes without saying that all event staff and volunteers should be familiar with the event emergency plan, to include medical Security at special eventsemergencies, lost children, crime and severe weather.

Security

Security often tends to get overlooked because it doesn’t generate income. But consider security an investment that reduces your risk of liability, which is just as good or even better than income. These security tips help make for a much safer event for everyone involved.

  • Volunteers are a great resource. But don’t use them for security enforcement purposes, such as dealing with unruly people, enforcing parking or alcohol regulations, or providing first aid. It’s best to have trained medical and law enforcement professionals handling these duties.
  • Using teachers, senior/varsity athletes and other community leaders is also not a good idea when it comes to maintaining order in the crowd. These temporary-authority figures aren’t always respected by others when they’re out of their element.
  • If you pay for professional security, don’t scrimp. Going with the cheapest security service may not be your wisest decision. Are their employees simply hired staff or trained personnel? Ask what types of sports events and what size crowds they can handle. Ask for examples of situations they managed to control and get references.

Sadler offers Special Event insurance and one of our insurance experts would be happy to help you determine what coverage your event needs.

And further information we have several articles related to reducing the risk of liability and injuries at special events. We can also provide a quick quote for tournament insurance and non-sporting events or you can contact us or call at (800) 622-7370.


Sources:
  • William Dyson. “Safe and Secure: How to Protect Your Event, Your Athletes and Your Spectators.” sportsdestination.com 07 Sept., 2018.
  • Kelly Martin,  “Safety and Security: Changing your game for the better,” Sports Destination Management. Sept./Oct. 2013.

Falling Tree Branch Kills Child on Playground: $3.6M Settlement

Most sports and recreation complexes have this exposure

A recent news story in our local paper illustrates perfectly how recreation organizations and facility owner/operators can be liable, even when they appear to be following best risk management practices.

A tree limb  fell on a 3-year-old boy who was playing on a park playground in the town of Irmo, SC. Tragically, he died from his injuries. His parents alleged negligence on the part of the town hall and six companies involved in the planning and construction of the park.

A settlement of $3.6 million was reached, though none of the defendants admitted liability. The mayor insists the boy’s death was the result of an “act of God.”

The allegations and the defense

In the suit, the parents claimed that those involved in building the park neglected to clear trees that could constitute a threat or danger. They also alleged earlier complaints about falling limbs around the play area were ignored by town officials and that warning signs.

The trees in the three Irmo parks undergo weekly inspections, according to the town’s mayor. Approximately 100 were removed in the last three years. Independent specialists inspected the tree involved in the lawsuit after the boy’s death and found it to be healthy. The mayor also said that the town contracts for quarterly inspections of park trees by specialists.

What this means for you

Under common law principles, the property owner can be held liable for negligence if a dead tree or branch falls and injures a third party. However, old trees often have branches that are alive, as evidenced by greenery that falls due to rotting. Even if the law is on your side, defense can be expensive. And juries are often swayed by the amount of damages instead of the technicalities of the law of negligence. It’s best to play it safe and be over aggressive when eliminating older trees and pruning questionable branches. In addition, it might be helpful to post signage about the dangers of falling branches.


Source: Tim Flach. “Family settles lawsuit after tree limb kills child in Irmo park.” www.thestate.com. 31 May 2017.

Managing Risk in Parking Lots During Sports Events

Aim for an injury-free zone

Sporting events are controlled competition among rivals, and that gets people excited. For as long as people have been running races, throwing balls, and riding horses, crowds have gathered to cheer on the competitors.

When emotions run high, that excitement can continue after the competition is over, and not always with good results.  All too often, the parking lots associated with sporting events can become an arena for fights, assaults and other dangerous behavior. Parking lots are where more than 7 percent of violent attacks at sporting and other large crowd events take place, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Anything can happen

Tailgating and fierce rivalries can lead to confrontations, intentional or not. Whenever alcohol is present, so is the potential for a something to go wrong. For example, a fan suffered a broken leg following a college football game when a drunk patron knocked her down as she walked to her vehicle. She sued the school because no securitSporting event parking lot liabilityy or parking lots attendants were present when the incident took place. Taking the fact that the school sold alcohol at the event and therefore knew the potential for intoxication and the risks involved to attendees, the court ruled in the student’s favor.

The facility’s responsibility

Facility owners/managers should take proactive steps to reduce the potential for bodily injury and property damage in parking lots that can result from tailgating, accidents, fights, assaults, vandalism, etc. Anytime a large crowd includes excited, upset, and possibly intoxicated people, tempers can flare. Add to the mix rain, heat, and/or a long wait to get out of the parking lot, and trouble can easily erupt.

Below are risk management strategies to reduce parking lot risks.

  1.  Document everything. It’s easier to defend your facility if it has written training manuals, documented safety checks, a log of issues/resolutions and video or still images of recorded incidents.
  2. Maintain appropriate lighting, checking bulbs annually.
  3. Remove shrubs and keep large trashcans and other large objects from obstructing a full view of the parking lot.
  4. Have sufficient parking lot staff to visually monitor and conduct periodic walking checks of all areas.
  5. Train parking lot staff to address violations, establish a presence by interacting with fans, and intervene immediately when disturbances take place.
  6. Install high-resolution security cameras.
  7. Meet prior to the event with security officials, law enforcement and facility management to discuss potential issues and debrief following the event.
  8. Ensure that parking lot staff members are all on the same page about who has authority, the chain of command, and proper communication channels and procedures.
  9. Inform fans of safety procedures using signs, the public address system, and fliers.

A facility won’t be liable for unanticipated third-party criminal acts. But if an incident does take place, the facility has a duty to take precautions against future occurrences.  Not doing so can mean significant liability.


Source: Gil Fried. “How Safe are Parking Facilities Near Sporting Events?”rel=nofollowFrom Gym to Jury. Vol. 26. No. 4.

Trampoline + Fitness Class = “Airobics”

Two popular physical activities merge

Trampoline parks are the fastest growing segment of the amusement business and personal fitness trainers are getting in on the action. And their clients are flying to trampoline parks fitness classes, happy to switch their routines up and add novelty moves to their workout regimens.

Why work out on a trampoline?

In addition to experiencing a new workout routine and venue, there are other perks for participants. When the body engages in explosive moves or when jogging in place, 80 percent of the shock is absorbed by the trampoline. This makes for much lower impact that’s easier on the joints and ideal for anyone recovering from an injury.

Another benefit to exercising on a trampoline is the full-body workout it offers. An unstable surface such as a trampoline requires many muscles in various parts of your body to engage for balance control, which makes for an extra challenging workout.

“Working out on a trampoline can improve your coordination and agility and, since it puts your musculoskeletal system under slight stress, promotes stronger bones and can ward off osteoporosis,” according to Natalie Rado, a New York City personal trainer.

Adjusting to a new environment

Many of the exercises practiced in a regular gym environment, such as lunges, jumping jacks and kicks, and push-ups are easily done on the trampoline. Sometimes the entire trampoline is used to run laps and some activities are done with a small area. Equipment such as medicine balls, stretch bands, and small weights can also be easily incorporated into workouts, and the intensity scaled up or down to meet individual fitness levels.

There are valid concerns about trampoline safety in general. Only certified fitness trainers should be leading exercise class and be certified in CPR and first aid. Trainers should closely monitor participants at all times. Beefing up the workout shouldn’t require jumping at great heights or dangerous acrobatics, only intensifying the level of the regular workout.

Trainers and trampoline park operators, please visit our Trampoline Park Insurance page that includes tips on risk management. Or call us at 800 (622-7370).


Sources:
  • Caitlin Carlson, “The New Workout You Have to Try,” WomensHealthMag.com, 16 July, 2013.
  • Briana Wipf,  “Trampolines add intensity to aerobic workouts,”greatfallstribune.com,  24 June, 2014.

 

 

Trampoline Parks Business Jumps 700 Percent

Entrepreneurs weighing whether to pounce

Trampoline parks are the fastest growing segment of the amusement industry with an increase of 700 percent over the last three years. Enterprising investor types are on the sidelines waiting to see if if the public’s interest in pay-to-jump fun will continue to soar or drop with a thud.

The International Association of Trampoline Parks is an organization whose focus is to advance growth and develop industry safety standards.”We’re getting inquiries from new or potential parks every day and more are opening every month,” said Tracey Sarris, executive vice president

Smart investors know they can’t determine long-term profitability only by the long waiting lines to get into these parks, popularity of kids’ trampoline parties, and growing interest in trampoline fitness workouts. Injury and liability risks are also a serious factor.

The issue of safety

There are currently no mandatory national industry safety standards, and so far only Arizona and Michigan have passed regulation legislation. ASTM International, the globally recognized leader in the development of standards for testing and materials, recently published its ASTM F2970-13standard.  However, these standards are only voluntary at this time. Some of the franchised trampoline park companies have created a task force to establish uniform safety standards.

It’s common practice among trampoline parks to have guests review the safety rules and sign a waiver before jumping, have those rules posted, and station staff around every jump zone to ensure everyone follows the rules and assist jumpers when necessary. But not all parks employ best practices, such as emergency medical training for employees, setting limits on number of jumpers, or age/size limits of jumpers.

The cost of doing business

The start-up cost of a new park can run $750,000 to $2 million. That can get paid off fairly quickly with average fee of $10 per half hour of jump time and revenue from trampoline parties and other events, including adult trampoline basketball and trampoline aerobics classes. However, maintaining the park and keeping it safe and well-staffed could cut into profits.

The insurance fees park owners pay can be 6 to 7 percent of  their gross revenues.  Some of the larger franchise operators have arranged group insurance programs for their franchisees.

If you want more information on trampoline parks or are a trampoline park operator looking for insurance, call Sadler Sports and Recreation and Insurance at (800) 622-7370.

 


Source: Joan Verson, NewJersey.com, 27 June, 2014.

 

Safety in the Gym

Risk management from top to bottom

Occasional injuries in a gymnasium or sports facility are to be expected, but they’re usually due to the inherent risk of sports participation. However, no one should ever expect an equipment-related injury.

In-depth equipment inspections should be conducted annually, and visual spot checks every month. Documentation of these inspections is an integral part risk management and can be the key to combatting allegations of negligence or noncompliance in the event of an injury claim.

Don’t assume staff is knowledgeable enough to conduct these inspections. If necessary, hire a professional inspection service. Such services usually don’t perform repairs, but can refer you to a company that does. If performing your own in-house inspections, there are areas that can be easily overlooked.

Looking up

As every grocery store manager knows, people focus on what’s at eye level. Sports facilities often have wall-mounted and/or ceiling-mounted systems, such as basketball nets, storage systems, and lighting. Make it a priority to look up for frayed cables or broken pulleys and mounts. Staff, players and fans are susceptible to serious injuries from stretched cables, loose attachments, or improperly stored equipment.

“If you see something that might be a problem, you need to investigate.” – Nick Cusick, Bison Inc.

Are problems afoot?

The gym floor houses equipment that can poses risks as well. Volleyball nets and soccer goals should be inspected for proper anchoring. Unsecured equipment can fall on players or cause players to trip. Safety wall padding should be checked regularly to ensure none is loose and still in good shape, not torn or worn thin.

Proper and sufficient signage can’t be stressed enough. Not only does it draw attention to safety issues and rules, but is a significant part of any risk management program. In other words, signs protect the public from safety hazards and the gym owner/operator. from potential lawsuits

If you have questions or concerns about safety issues, contact Sadler Sports and Recreation Insurance at (800) 622-7370. And don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook!


Source: Emily Attwood, “Inspections, Monitoring Key to Optimal Gym Operation,“ Athletic Business. March, 2014.

 

 

Swim Club Tragedy

Freak accident highlights need for Accident and General Liability Insurance

An accident can happen anywhere at any time. Recently, 11-year-old Lauren Cecil of North Carolina was electrocuted when an electric surge from a downed power line passed through the pool in which she and two teammates were practicing.

The swim club president witnessed the wire fall and land in a parking lot. When she heard a “popping” noise and saw a puff of smoke, she sent lifeguards to stand guard around the pool and encourage swimmers to exit.  While Cecil’s teammates were able to safely jump out of the pool, she attempted to leave using a ladder. Unfortunately, the metal ladder served as a conductor that sent a shock through her body.

Lifeguards were unable to retrieve her from the pool immediately because the water continued to transmit electric shocks. They eventually used a body board and kickboard to remove Cecil from the pool and begin CPR. Their attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful and she was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

In the insurance industry, we are in the business of expecting the unexpected. Crazy things happen every day. Tragedies such as the one that befell Lauren Cecil are not unheard of, so it is important to protect your swim club or fitness facility in the event of an accident. General Liability and Accident insurance are the best forms of protection for ensuring that your organization and its administrators, staff, and participants do not suffer a serious financial loss as the result of unforeseen circumstances.

Source: 11-year-old North Carolina Girl Electrocuted While Swimming in Pool

Directors & Officers Liability Insurance for Leagues/Associations

When a General Liability policy isn’t enough

Directors & Officers Liability insurance for sports organizations covers certain types of lawsuits that are not covered by the more common and better known General Liability policy. General Liability covers certain lawsuits alleging bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, and advertising injury.  Directors & Officers Liability typically covers the following broad classes of lawsuits:

  • Discrimination based on race, sex, age, or disability
  • Wrongful suspension or termination of league personnel or players
  • Failure to follow own rules or bylaws when making an administrative decision
  • Violation of rights of others under constitutional, federal, or state law
  • Financial mismanagement

The Directors & Officers Liability policy pays covered legal defense costs. It also pays up to the policy limit in the event of settlement or adverse jury verdict.

Over the past 10 years, the types of claims that are potentially covered by the Directors & Officers Liability policy have increased dramatically as the public has become more litigious. The most common categories of lawsuits include disability discrimination under the Americans With Disability Act (ADA), player eligibility disputes, and league administrators not following their own rules or bylaws when making decisions. We have also seen claims involving breach of contract (usually excluded by most policy forms), race discrimination, violation of expression of religious freedom, failure to make all-star team, improper coaching resulting in loss of college scholarship, violation of Sherman Anti-Trust/Restraint of Trade, internal board disputes (usually excluded by most policy forms), injunctive relief to halt a tournament due to player eligibility issues (often not covered by most policy forms), etc.

The Directors & Officers policy form varies greatly from one carrier to the next. As a result, a detailed review is required to uncover dangerous exclusions that would take away essential coverages. Some important policy provisions include employment practices liability and 3rd-party liability, including discrimination. Unfortunately, most insurance agents are not competent in this area. The insurance experts at SADLER SPORTS & RECREATION INSURANCE can easily guide you through such a review.

Call us today at (800) 622-7370.

 

 

Importance of a General Liability Policy

Why all sports teams, leagues and organizations need one

General Liability for sports organizations protects against covered claims or lawsuits primarily resulting from bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, and advertising injury.

  • Bodily injury claims generally arise from injuries to sports participants or spectators.
  • Property damage claims are normally associated with damage to sports facilities or spectator vehicles.
  • Personal injury lawsuits commonly arise from a slander or libel.
  • Advertising injury claims may arise from incorrect statements or comparisons about a competing sports program that are contained within promotional materials of a sports organization.

General Liability pays covered legal defense costs and any settlement or adverse jury verdict expenses up to the policy limit. One of the most important reasons for carrying General Liability is to get coverage for legal defense which of often the most expensive element of sports litigation. It is not uncommon for legal defense costs to exceed $50,000, even in cases where the sports organization is ultimately found to not be negligent.

 

Source: John Sadler
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