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How will this affect American pole vaulting?

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  • How will this affect American pole vaulting?

    And what can fans of T&F in general and pole vaulting in specific do about it? Thoughts?

    For the record, I think it's great that they are thinking about the safety of the high school athletes but how far do we go? This is already taking the opportunity to compete in the vault away from many high school athletes.

    http://www.sportserver.com/track_field/ ... 3590c.html

  • #2
    Re: How will this affect American pole vaulting?

    >And what can fans of T&F in general and pole
    >vaulting in specific do about it?
    >Thoughts?

    To quote Mr. Shakespeare, first thing we do is kill all the lawyers. :-)

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    • #3
      Re: How will this affect American pole vaulting?

      If all the hard surfaces around the pit are covered/padded and you have proper coaching whats the need for a helmet?

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      • #4
        Re: How will this affect American pole vaulting?

        If you fall on your head in such a manner as the Penn State vaulter did last winter nothing will save you. Not a bigger mat and not a helmet. You're gonna break your neck and you're likely going to die.

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        • #5
          Re: How will this affect American pole vaulting?

          >If all the hard surfaces around the pit are
          >covered/padded and you have proper coaching whats
          >the need for a helmet?

          Because mistakes happen. I'm sure this was the debate before goalies started wearing face masks in hockey. No doubt the purists thought it was outrageous. Most would not agree with that position now.

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          • #6
            Re: How will this affect American pole vaulting?

            Yes mistakes happen but what is a helmet for if:

            1. You have a pole vault system that is bigger than most rooms 20' wide 22' long. (this is the average size)

            2. No visible hard surfaces exposed or they are padded with 2"-4" of padding. (required)

            3. You have a box collar just in case the pit is moved back the allowed 3" (required.)

            4. You have a certified coach supervising your training.

            5. You are on a vaulting pole rated at or above your body weight. (required for HS)

            There is no way to prevent catastrophic injuries such as coming straight down on your head. Two of the three deaths last year occurred because the vaulters rolled off the pits and hit their heads on hard surfaces that should have been padded. Also, Gill has just come out with a "soft box" that greatly reduces the impact of a fall into the plant box.

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            • #7
              Re: How will this affect American pole vaulting?

              Yeah the way I see it is that the only reason you would need a helmet is protect your head in case you hit it on something hard such as concrete or asphalt. So why not just pad those surfaces? My coach likes to make a good point about safety- guys were jumping 18'-19' on much smaller then currently legal pits 15-20 years ago but they rarely got injured because they knew if they wanted to stay healthy they would learn to pole vault safely.

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              • #8
                Re: How will this affect American pole vaulting?

                >And I would add -- and
                >I think this is the critical point -- that even
                >though pole vaulting does pose some dangers even
                >with the best possible prevention, the benefits
                >of the activity far outweigh its
                >liabilities.

                A couple of points there. First, you are right. The benefits outweigh the risks. Second, the athletes and their parents know the risks involved. The athletes choose to participate and their parents choose to give consent knowing the risks. Is it really worth potentially killing the pole vault in high school in order to offer a slight decrease in risk? How much is this going to decrease the risk anyway?

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                • #9
                  Re: How will this affect American pole vaulting?

                  A repercussion that I don't think has been addressed is the banishment of the pole vault in junior high school. This is a knee-jerk response to the safety issue & presently taking place routinely. This is the worst possible scenario. Keep the pole in young kids' hands so that they can learn proper technique while they are still at an age where few can get high enough off the ground to be a danger. Please keep an eye on these situations and lobby your state's coaches association to keep this from happening.

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                  • #10
                    Re: How will this affect American pole vaulting?

                    I am not against people wearing helmets if they want to but I think requiring helmets is a knee-jerk reaction by many administrators. I think there are other things that need to be done also such as coaches education that will improve safety even more.
                    For some really in-depth discussion of the helmet issue go to these two threads on our website:

                    http://www.polevaultpower.com/forum/vie ... ht=helmets

                    http://www.polevaultpower.com/forum/vie ... 47&start=0

                    Junior high vaulting would be great but as it is we don't even have enough qualified coaches at the HS and college level right now. Not to mention how expensive it would be for schools starting from scratch.

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