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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.
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.