EDUCATION IS THE KEY TO POLE VAULT SAFETY

A LETTER TO THE NCAA NEWS, PUBLISHED APRIL 29, 2002

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Kevin Dare, a Pennsylvania State University track and field athlete, died from injuries sustained at the 2002 Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships due to an errant vault. In the wake of this tragedy, Ralph Lindeman, track coach at the U.S. Air Force Academy and USTCA/Division I Track Coaches Association president, called for a meeting of pole vault coaches, head-coaches and others interested in the event, The meeting was held in Fayetteville, Arkansas, March 8, the first day of the Division I Men's and Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships.
  Those who attended possessed a passion for the pole vault event and its future and expressed genuine concern and commitment for pole vault safety.
  Safety is of paramount importance in every sporting activity, whether it be football, gymnastics, golf or track and field. The pole vault has undergone many changes in the past 40 years, and corresponding safety measures have been adopted to match the changing nature of the event. Unfortunately, sometimes tragedy is the trigger of a greater sense of urgency.
  Jan Johnson, a coach, clinician and 1972 Olympic bronze medalist in the pole vault, is the USATF pole vault safety coordinator. He has researched catastrophic injuries sustained due to pole vault-related accidents over the past 30 years.
  Notable in his research is that statistically there is a much greater chance for catastrophic injury for the collegiate pole vaulter than high-school pole vaulter, based on athlete opportunities and reported incidents.
  Johnson has suggested several safety measures for collegiate pole vault that are either legislative or educational All are designed to prevent high-risk choices and ensure adequate equipment! environment for the demand of the event
  Johnson's recommendations generated a great deal of discussion at the March 8 meeting. Some of the suggestions gained unanimous support, while it was apparent that others would need to be discussed further before a consensus could be reached
Gymboss Timers

  In short, the recommendations are:

Dave Nielsen, Head Track and Field Coach, Idaho State University

 


 

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