There’s no denying that our world changed in 2020. Youth sports and school athletics have had to adapt to the ever-changing climate. Depending on local rules, health & safety regulations have varied widely throughout the country. Decisions made today may not be relevant tomorrow, leaving many club administrators, coaches and volunteers feel like they are on shaky ground.
During this ‘forced pause,’ administrators have been looking for ways to improve operations and satisfy short-term requirements, as well as satisfy long-term goals/needs. In the past, that meant member management systems, team communication tools, and e-learning solutions. Today, it has expanded to include complete risk management and safety solutions.
What is Risk Management?
Risk management used to be synonymous with background screening and that was the extent of formal risk management training. Today risk management has expanded to include things like SafeSport Compliance, symptom monitoring, and injury tracking, making good risk management a fundamental responsibility of all youth sports organizations.
Innovations in Risk Management
Youth sports administrators can feel like they need to have a college degree in public health and abuse prevention training if they want to stay up-to-date, especially during a pandemic. However, products like InjureFree’s injury reporting, concussion education, and return to play tools provide a consolidated, user-friendly suite of tools that allow club administrators to use data to make informed decisions. It’s easier than ever for administrators to manage their safety protocols.
How 2020 Proved Risk Management is a Necessity for Youth Sports
No longer does a coach or administrator have to ‘use their gut’ to determine what the right thing is when it comes to avoiding injury. Data from a population of 100,000 youth athletes provides a dramatic visualization of how pausing one's athletic engagement, and not properly preparing before resuming activity, can lead to injury. The graph below provides a snapshot for the last three years of injury occurrence; illustrating consistently over time, how off-season or unanticipated pauses increase the likelihood of athlete injury and risk for their organization.
Because of data like this, administrators can make the appropriate process adjustments to make sure that they provide a safe environment for their athletes.
Providing Peace of Mind for Parents Pays
In the end, and even more so in the future, parents look for organizations that promote athlete health and wellness as a cornerstone of sports programming. Organizations that believe in ‘Safety First’ will emerge as leaders in the youth sports space. With innovative safety solutions, youth sports teams can save on insurance costs, streamline background checks, and provide healthy long-term athlete development protocols.