It is a coach’s legal and moral responsibility to plan in advance for catastrophic emergencies. A rehearsed catastrophic emergency plan is a crucial part of managing risk in sport. After the review of more than 200 catastrophic cheer injury reports between 1982 and 2009, one pattern stood out like a sore thumb: Cheer programs lacked a rehearsed catastrophic emergency plan. A review of other youth sports revealed a similar pattern.
The National Cheer Safety Foundation’s Panel of Experts recommends that each organization or institution that sponsors athletic activities or events develop, implement and rehearse a written emergency plan. Emergency plans should be developed by organizational or institutional personnel in consultation with local emergency medical services. Also, the program should build a rapport with local and contact EMS ahead of time whenever you have an event, clinic, camp or competition.
While most injuries sustained during athletics or other physical activity is relatively minor, the potential for limb or life-threatening emergencies in athletics and physical activity can occur without warning. Proper management of these injuries is critical and should be carried out by trained health services personnel to minimize risk to the injured participant. The organization or institution and its employees and or volunteers can be placed at risk by the lack of a rehearsed emergency plan, which may be the foundation of a legal claim such as with cheerleader Ashley Burns and football player Max Gilpin.
Written by Kimberly Archie, Founder/CEO National Cheer Safety Foundation