Even though injuries are very likely in football, recent research in the US, has produced results, that show fewer than 4 per cent of youth players having suffered concussions. Even though these findings are positive, the Safety in Youth Sports Act, in Philadelphia, has recently passed a law, that, now requires an athlete who has sustained a concussion to be cleared by a doctor before returning to play sport. Head injuries most likely occur during tackle football. A bill was sponsored recently in the US, where it calls for the mandatory use of helmets for children playing football to prevent concussions and brain injuries. Also, it was argued to now impose penalties for companies who make fake claims of the safety of their football helmets. In the battle for student-athlete safety, in Illinois, there have been regulations passed for heat acclimation in pre-season football practice and eliminating live tackling during the pre-season. Many players suffer from heatstroke that can be fatal. These adaptations to the games will be a bit difficult but will balance well being with risk. A commitment to this sports research will advance player safety and determine best practice.
On a lighter note, It has been reported that health and safety rules at a recent major footballing event in the UK, have prevented fans from unfurling a giant banner and passing it from the level one seats to the corporate section in level two. The choreography of this would breach health and safety rules as it couldn’t be guaranteed that those in the corporate section would partake. This might seem like a killjoy thing to do but the silliest of accidents can occur, when large excitable, especially football crowds, are involved. In the UK, there is the Football Spectators Act 1989, which addresses health and safety in stadiums. Also, the Sports Grounds Safety Authority, ensures conditions are safe and enjoyable for spectators
Moving on from football, the Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most entertaining but dangerous sporting events in the world. Now there are some fears that health and safety will be intervening to make it more safe. A British F1 ace wants health and safety officials to stay away from making the ruthless La Rascasse turn (part of the race track in Monaco) more safe. He says he “loves flying around this turn”, and, goes on to say that even though this part of the race is very risky, the racing cars are made very safe today, unlike the 1950’s when things were in their infancy and when the racing started.
In another kind of race, a Jockey had recently been injured at a “bizarre” fall at Cheltenham. The horse stumbled in this “one in a thousand incident”. It has been reported that the hurdle that caused this accident was because the hurdle was too close to the railing. Initially he had sued the Jockey Club, who insisted that this accident could not have been “forseen” and his case was dismissed. However, this was overturned by a court of appeal where a settlement was paid out to the Jockey. The club could not prove that the “exceptional event” could not have been avoided. Even though there was not a similar accident in the past 20 years, and even though unlikely, it could still happen.
Athletes also have to adhere to health and safety rules. Many runners were out and about during the Calderdale Way Relay weekend during the past week. The event is a club-led off road race held yearly. All was going well, until four teams were disqualified for not having the requisite safety kit. The organizers quite rightly imposed this. Tougher measures are now becoming the norm for all type of sporting events; so to ensure team and spectator safety.