A new report has found Queensland gymnastics and trampoline clubs need to improve safety for sport participants. …
… the risk of contact with all possible hard surfaces was controlled in only 8 per cent of facilities.
… nine recommendations to boost safety at clubs
It’s now been over 2yrs since the death of adult recreational gymnast Michelle Maitland who hit her head on concrete at Townsville Gymnastics. Nothing can bring her back. But this report — released the day before what would have been Michelle’s birthday — might help prevent future catastrophic injury.
My friend Mike Outram survived after hitting his head on concrete.
Surely the very first thing coaches must do in any facility is make sure it’s impossible to hit concrete or steel. Long term, we need modify all foam pits to suspended systems, the best being the Jim Walker design.
Here are the 9 recommendations:
1. Gymnastics Australia should review the level of training, assistance and monitoring provided to clubs to implement the Club 10 program. This review should include the methods of monitoring compliance with, and implementation of, the program.
2. Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, Sport and Recreation Services and Gymnastics Queensland should research how to link improved safety outcomes in the sport of gymnastics with the funding and non-financial support provided by SRS.
3. Gymnastics Australia should review their GA lesson plan template, in consultation with its members, with the view to developing a lesson plan template that includes coach positioning and key safety controls. Consideration should be given to sample lesson plans for each apparatus and level.
4. Gymnastics Australia should conduct a training needs analysis and ensure that access to coach accreditation and professional development courses is available.
5. Gymnastics Australia should research and develop methods to assist gymnastics clubs to conduct risk assessments, specifically in the use of gymnastics apparatus.
6. Gymnastics Australia should review the Club 10 equipment maintenance policies and procedures with a view to achieving greater compliance with Club 10 documenting processes.
7. Gymnastics Australia should research and develop methods to assist gymnastics clubs in managing the risk of manual task injuries in gymnastics coaches.
8. Gymnastics Australia should review coach knowledge on spotting and provide additional guidance and training where required.
9. Gymnastics Australia should research the viability of a simple method to document skill progression of gymnasts, including any injuries suffered. This may vary for high level, competitive gymnasts and low level or recreational gymnasts.
Download the entire 25 page report. (PDF)
This report needs be circulated to sports governing bodies worldwide. Leave a comment if you have ideas on how to make that happen. I’ll send it to some FIG committee members and Gymnastics Canada.
Update: As commenters have pointed out, an improvement to this report would be to better specify exactly what parts of the gym need be “padded”. In the past I’ve narrowed it down to pits and trampoline devices. But it should be broader than that.