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J Athl Train. 1997 Jul-Sep; 32(3): 251–253.
PMCID: PMC1320247

A Model Lightning Safety Policy for Athletics



The purpose of this paper is to present a model policy on lightning safety for athletic trainers.


Among college athletic programs in the United States there is a serious lack of written policy on lightning safety. Available evidence shows that most National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I institutions, even though they are located in high lightning activity areas of the country, do not have formal, written lightning safety policies.

Clinical Advantages/ Recommendations:

The policy presented herein, which is at the forefront of such policies, is the lightning safety policy written as part of a policies and procedures manual for the division of sports medicine at a public NCAA Division I university. This is a policy based on practicality that utilizes the “flash-to- bang” method for determining the distance of lightning activity from the observer. The policy begins with the importance of prevention, including the daily monitoring of weather reports. The policy defines a “safe shelter” and specifies the chain of command for determining who removes a team or individuals from an athletic site in the event of dangerous lightning activity.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (652K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Walsh KM, Hanley MJ, Graner SJ, Beam D, Bazluki J. A survey of lightning policy in selected division I colleges. J Athl Train. 1997 Jul;32(3):206–210. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Fontanarosa PB. Electrical shock and lightning strike. Ann Emerg Med. 1993 Feb;22(2 Pt 2):378–387. [PubMed]
  • Holle RL, López RE, Howard KW, Vavrek J, Allsopp J. Safety in the presence of lightning. Semin Neurol. 1995 Dec;15(4):375–380. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Athletic Training are provided here courtesy of National Athletic Trainers Association