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Olympic tragedy-Safety in sport

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  • Olympic tragedy-Safety in sport

    Very,very sad news out of Vancouver today regarding the death of a Georgian luge athlete. Viewing video of the accident, I was shocked to see the very close proximity of the steel support columns that he struck to the track he was running on. I could not help but think how that could have been avoided, and how too often we have similar tragedies in our sport. One of the athletes interviewed talked about the "inherent danger" of racing sports and then kind of shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "c'est la vie" I think my safety conciousness has been raised to such a level by my participation as an event rider that I found that a bit shocking as well.

  • #2
    I was shocked at how low the wall was at that part of the track -- and no protection at all in front of those metal columns.

    Also, the lugers are not well served by their lack of safety equipment. If you look at the photos of the fall, you'll see the luger's neck is totally exposed when his head goes forward. And there's no impact protection for the torso at all.

    And how about that EMS, riderboy? Did you see the photo of the medics working on the guy? (it's #2 in the slideshow) Holy lack of BSI, Batman. There's lots of blood and this medic doesn't have gloves on. And he's doing mouth-to-mask, after they c-spined him. How about a BVM and some O2?

    (But if they're doing CPR on you, you're most likely not coming back. But still...)

    I've worked in places where you'd be fired and have a hearing about your license if you did that on the clock.

    (I volunteered to be a medic at these Olympics as I live in BC part-time. I eventually opted out of the process because they were unbelievably disorganized. Not the medical people, just the ubergroup that organized volunteers. No one knew anything, communication was impossible and they were unreliable about keeping appointments.)

    Comment


    • #3
      I came here to post about the tragedy and see I was not the only one wanting to. I found it very interesting the official who spoke regarding the inexperienced Olympians and the very fast speed of the track. He said he wasn't concerned about the top 13 in the sport, but the ones in the middle and back of the pack. The man killed was only 21, yet he was on this track going 88 miles an hour. I immediately thought of the issues we have in eventing regarding experience and the "bigger and faster" courses. Guess eventing isn't the only sport facing this issue.
      Lori T
      www.calypsofarmeventers.blogspot.com
      www.facebook.com/LoriTankelPhotography
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      • #4
        So tragic. I found it disturbing and misguided for the reporters to blame the accident on the athlete's inexperience while in the background stand the giant steel I-beams that line the track.

        Comment


        • #5
          I found this discussion on another (non-horse) message board and thought it was interesting in relation to what I've read here about eventing safety, and the perception of accidents by the public:
          http://www.metafilter.com/89164/Olym...-luge-accident

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by JER View Post
            I was shocked at how low the wall was at that part of the track -- and no protection at all in front of those metal columns.

            Also, the lugers are not well served by their lack of safety equipment. If you look at the photos of the fall, you'll see the luger's neck is totally exposed when his head goes forward. And there's no impact protection for the torso at all.

            And how about that EMS, riderboy? Did you see the photo of the medics working on the guy? (it's #2 in the slideshow) Holy lack of BSI, Batman. There's lots of blood and this medic doesn't have gloves on. And he's doing mouth-to-mask, after they c-spined him. How about a BVM and some O2?

            (But if they're doing CPR on you, you're most likely not coming back. But still...)

            I've worked in places where you'd be fired and have a hearing about your license if you did that on the clock.

            (I volunteered to be a medic at these Olympics as I live in BC part-time. I eventually opted out of the process because they were unbelievably disorganized. Not the medical people, just the ubergroup that organized volunteers. No one knew anything, communication was impossible and they were unreliable about keeping appointments.)
            Having been in situations similar, I don't fault the first responders. Yes, they should have had basic PPE on, but they responded with such speed and instict that they did not take the time to don protective wear.

            How tragic that this young man lost his life. It just goes to show that ANY sport has risks and if you stick with it long enough, the odds are you may become a statistic. My heart is out to his family.
            Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

            The Grove at Five Points

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ACMEeventing View Post
              Having been in situations similar, I don't fault the first responders. Yes, they should have had basic PPE on, but they responded with such speed and instict that they did not take the time to don protective wear.
              If you are a trained, licensed EMT or paramedic, your 'speed and instinct' on the job means BSI comes before everything else. 'Speed and instinct' is knowing your protocols and executing them.

              The medic doing compressions has gloves on. Given that this is the Olympics, it is very unlikely that the guy doing mouth-to-mask is a bystander who just happened upon the scene.

              If you have time to get your backboard and c-spine gear out, you have time to put on gloves.

              It's what riderboy said -- if you're conscious of safety, this scene at the sliding centre looks like a nightmare in a number of ways.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                -- if you're conscious of safety, this scene at the sliding centre looks like a nightmare in a number of ways.[/QUOTE]

                It sure did to me as well.

                Comment


                • #9
                  [QUOTE=JER;4681769]

                  The medic doing compressions has gloves on. Given that this is the Olympics, it is very unlikely that the guy doing mouth-to-mask is a bystander who just happened upon the scene.

                  If you have time to get your backboard and c-spine gear out, you have time to put on gloves.



                  Oh, just looked at the whole line-up. You're absolutely right, they most certainly did disregard PPE.
                  Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                  The Grove at Five Points

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    We'll be opening an Off Topic forum tomorrow, where you'll be welcome to discuss all aspects of this accident, the Olympics overall, etc., but please keep the thread related to safety topics in eventing if you'd like to comment on it here.

                    Thanks,
                    Mod 1

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I was actually talking about this with my husband last night--how everyone knows that in eventing, the Olympic xc will not be as difficult as, say, Badminton--that all of the major complexes will have longer alternate routes flagged--because while we want the best to win, we want the entire field to survive. Killing some poor horse from a country that just barely managed to qualify a rider is not in our sport's best interests.

                      In the same light, I can't see how it is in the Olympic's best interests to have what seems to be considered as one of the most difficult tracks of all time. Luge--unlike something like figure skating--is a sport that an athletic person might take up solely in order to represent his or her nation at the games. You've got to protect the safety of all the competitors.

                      Whoever gets down the fastest, wins. You don't only get a medal if you also break the world record.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Moderator 1 View Post
                        We'll be opening an Off Topic forum tomorrow, where you'll be welcome to discuss all aspects of this accident, the Olympics overall, etc., but please keep the thread related to safety topics in eventing if you'd like to comment on it here.

                        Thanks,
                        Mod 1
                        I appreciate that. Not to pick on you but you seem to be jumping on this pretty fast compared to other non-sport,non eventing threads from the recent past. There are valid comparisons about Olympic participants skill levels and safety issues, accident and safety analysis and how our raised level of conciousness as eventers makes us much more aware of how we can become even safer. Also, not thinking thru possible dangerous situations and circumstances can really come back and haunt you as it did here.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I can see how this tragic accident can easily be compared to eventing. It was reported this young athlete came from a country that doesn't have the money or expertise to properly train for this sport as some of the other countries do. The countries with the money to build training facilities and pay good coaches will most likely turn out better competitors who will have better skills to compete in such a dangerous sport.

                          It's the same as eventers moving up levels when neither they nor their horse have had the proper training or coaching to run at that level. The better prepared horse/rider teams will have a greater chance at success over the teams that are pushed too far too soon or don't have the training advantage.
                          Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!
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                          • #14
                            I think the parallel here is that you can not make an inherently high risk sport completely safe.

                            Race drivers die in car accidents
                            Skiers die in skiing accidents
                            Riders die in horse accidents
                            Luge runners die in luge accidents.
                            etc, etc.

                            I listened to a program on NPR yesterday about how they prepare these tracks with many safety features to try to keep the drivers on the track, but unfortunately sometimes the risk that is inherent in such a sport happens.

                            I'm sure this will result in a very thorough analysis is the safety failure, and hopefully a fail safe that will protect another person from the same safety failure.

                            But you are never going to make a high risk sport completely, totally safe. Nor would most participants want the sport "dumbed down" to that level as the challenge would be gone.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Very true that there is significant risks associated with sports such as this, including eventing. One thing that struck me tho was, why aren't there retaining "nets" in place to keep people and the luge sleds from flying off the tracks, not only safety for the lugers but for the people that may be outside the course, kinda like the retaining nets at many NASCAR tracks. That would offer SOME measure of safety for all involved. But we all have to realize we take risks, period. Everytime we climb on a hroses back, onto a sled in luge, or into a racecar, there are risks associated that ALL of us realize.
                              www.shawneeacres.net

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by shawneeAcres View Post
                                Very true that there is significant risks associated with sports such as this, including eventing. One thing that struck me tho was, why aren't there retaining "nets" in place to keep people and the luge sleds from flying off the tracks, not only safety for the lugers but for the people that may be outside the course, kinda like the retaining nets at many NASCAR tracks. That would offer SOME measure of safety for all involved. But we all have to realize we take risks, period. Everytime we climb on a hroses back, onto a sled in luge, or into a racecar, there are risks associated that ALL of us realize.
                                I thought exactly the same thing about the nets-cheap and effective. Today after an investigation they're saying "it's not the track" How can it go from one of the most dangerous luge tracks out there to suddenly not being part of the problem. What concerns me, and this is where I see parallels in eventing, is that they've sort of brushed off any responsibility for track (course) design, lack of readily available safety netting (jump design placement and construction) and blamed the "inexperienced" athlete (fill in the blank). Man up here guys. I think it was that kind of attitude that got non-eventers so angry at the eventing hierarchy when bad accidents were happening and horses and people killed and injured. It doesn't fly. Take responsibility for your part and fix what you can as fast as you can.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by riderboy View Post
                                  I thought exactly the same thing about the nets-cheap and effective. Today after an investigation they're saying "it's not the track" How can it go from one of the most dangerous luge tracks out there to suddenly not being part of the problem.
                                  The same way three horses can fall at the same jump in the same way but investigation determines there was "no problem with the jump design or construction."

                                  To quote Flutie, it's when the old boy network kicks in.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    From what we are seeing today it looks as though a wall has been erected at the site...very sad and tragic indeed
                                    The media outlets that have posted pictures around the world of that poor young man at the end of his life ought to be ashamed! No matter the circumstance behind death EVERYONE deserves respect...imagine his Mother!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by advmom View Post
                                      From what we are seeing today it looks as though a wall has been erected at the site...very sad and tragic indeed
                                      The media outlets that have posted pictures around the world of that poor young man at the end of his life ought to be ashamed! No matter the circumstance behind death EVERYONE deserves respect...imagine his Mother!
                                      I think it the news media has crossed the line on this one. It is ghoulish to show, in detail, the moment of death. I haven't seen any of the video or the photos--I've been avoiding them successfully thus far. But I believe the people and programs that have published/run the footage should be ashamed of themselves.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by GotSpots View Post
                                        The same way three horses can fall at the same jump in the same way but investigation determines there was "no problem with the jump design or construction."

                                        To quote Flutie, it's when the old boy network kicks in.
                                        Yes
                                        Originally posted by LAZ View Post
                                        I think it the news media has crossed the line on this one. It is ghoulish to show, in detail, the moment of death. I haven't seen any of the video or the photos--I've been avoiding them successfully thus far. But I believe the people and programs that have published/run the footage should be ashamed of themselves.
                                        Absolutely

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