We are making our own sport feared

Discussion about ways to make the sport safer and discussion of past injuries so we can learn how to avoid them in the future.
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We are making our own sport feared

Unread postby VaultPurple » Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:21 pm

Imagine you are a high school athletic director who has never seen anyone pole vault or a school board voting to decide if they wanted to vote to make pole vaulting allowed in their school district. You wanted to gain a little more information on the vent so you googled pole vault. What is the number one result under the obvious wikipedia link? PoleVaultPower.com - The Pole Vault Community Online.

Now you know nothing of the sport and you just start reading. Your interested in safety so that is where you look first. What are almost all the post about? Someone getting hurt or dying! Almost all of these are over two years old but someone who does not know about pole vault will not know this. They will not know that there are coaching clinics around the country, they will not know of all the new up and coming clubs in the areas that are making pole vault safer. All they will see is that pole vault is dangerous and therefore they should not let their kids do it unless they want to get them killed!

Yes every injury is tragic and we wish they could all be prevented, but they can not. In the same way you will never eliminate deaths in football, cross country, baseball, or bus rides to the meet. You are far more likely to die on your way to a meet than by actually pole vaulting but no one cares because they just want another way to sue someone.

Becca, you even posted something about a kid suing about breaking his nose! Really? That should not go in pole vault safety, that should go in a petty American column. Or maybe start a discussion on the dangers of vaulting in the rain or something, or how to handle it. But all I see from first glance is "kid breaks nose and sues". You know how many broken noses are from baseball and football each year? A LOT. There will always be petty people in the world who will try and sue, even if it was not raining and their kid was at fault, and they will probably win, that is just life. This is America where you can sue because your coffee is too hot.

The same goes to the pole vault equipment manufacturers. I think the biggest debate we have going now is the new box collar rule at the NCAA level. I honestly do not think it would make things 'that' much safer, but besides a kid missing it or stepping on it wrong, it probably won't make things much worse either. That point aside, if the company that makes this particular collar really cared about the well being and safety of pole vaulters they would not charge an extra $200 dollars over the price of their standard collar when the extra foam and vinyl coast a few dollars more if that. They would also not be filing for a patent to keep other companies from being able to make the only legal design out there after they pushed to make that design the only legal one, they would be more than willing to share the design.

Good business or not, when it is the people that make the safety equipment going around to all the big wigs in charge that know nothing about pole vault telling them how dangerous it is so they will make people buy their equipment, eventually the they are going to tell the wrong person and they are just going to get rid of pole vault at the high school and college level because everyone is scared of getting sued. What happens when they pass the rule making everyone buy an extra $500 box collar and a bunch of schools can not afford it, they cut vaulting. What happens when enough coaches fight back against something like that and the wrong person takes it as the coaches and athletic programs not putting the athletes safety first, they cut pole vaulting!

If you want to make pole vault safer, go to all the schools around you and give free clinics on pole vault safety and the things not to do wrong, share poles with your competition when they do not have the right one and it would be too unsafe to jump poles, donate your old mats to places you know need them, if you are in the position to make equipment and you think something will benefit the sport, make it look sincere and not for the profit gain. Guess what, a world where you throw in a free regulation box collar with every pole or pit order makes a company a lot more money than a world where they can charge $500 dollars for a piece of vinyl and foam that does not have pole vault in it.

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Re: We are making our own sport feared

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:37 pm

The goal of this particular part of the form is twofold - one, to have discussions about safety-related issues, and two to catalogue any pole vault accidents that have been in the news and/or resulted in lawsuits. Lawsuits are one of the things that have the potential to kill this sport, and there is a usefulness in studying them. Certainly we need to learn from past accidents, I am not going to bury them because I am afraid of freaking out some random person googling the pole vault. I'm sorry you don't like how I have things organized, but I have a reason for it.

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Re: We are making our own sport feared

Unread postby Gary_vaulter » Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:25 am

Perhaps what is needed is a small disclaimer of some kind in the "safety" forum that encourages the reader to keep things in perspective.

According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research (http://www.unc.edu/depts/nccsi/), in the same period of time as the post on Vaulting Injuries (2003 - present) there have been -
- 72 deaths in HS football
- 10 deaths in HS Soccer

According to this summary for a period of 1982 - 2008 (http://aacca.org/safetystudy/AACCA%20Sp ... 0Study.htm)
The risk of catastrophic injury for the generic category of "Track" is only .01 percent higher then a female Cheerleading. A male Gymnast is 10 times more likely to suffer a catastrophic injury then someone participating in "Track".
I haven't found anybody tracking this data, but I highly suspect a MUCH higher percentage of people are killed and injured driving to a track event then are injured participating in the Polevault.

While I in no way want to down play the need for safety, or the fact that there is risk inherent in our sport, statistically speaking it simply isn't an overly risky sport.

It's just that the unusual and dramatic nature of our event gives the average observer a bias towards believing we are participating in something "unsafe" and when the rare catastrophic event does occur, it causes the public to say "A-HA! SEE That! It is just as we thought!"

It's the "plane crash perception" syndrome.
There are Thousands of successful plane flights every day, millions every year but how many of those make the headlines? How many of those do you remember? A single plane crash though, can remain in the public consciousness for a long time.

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