Guidelines for Game Officials for Serious On-Field Player Injuries
Players and coaches must go to and remain in the bench area. Direct
players and coaches accordingly. Always ensure adequate lines of
vision between the medical staffs and available emergency personnel.
Attempt to keep players a significant distance away from the seriously
injured player or players.
Do not allow a player to roll an injured player over.
Do not allow players to assist a teammate who is lying on the field;
i.e., removing the helmet or chin strap, or attempting to assist breathing
by elevating the waist.
Do not allow players to pull an injured teammate or opponent from a
Once the medical staff begins to assist an injured player, all members
of the officiating crew should control the total playing field environment
and team personnel, and allow the medical staff to perform services
without interruption or interference.
Players and coaches should be appropriately controlled to avoid dictating
medical services to the athletic trainers or team physicians, or
taking up their time to perform such service.
Note: Officials should have a reasonable knowledge of the location of
emergency personnel equipment at all stadiums.
Rules Committee expresses its appreciation to the
National Football League for development of these guidelines.)
Guidelines for Game Officials and Game Management To Use Regarding Lightning
The purpose of this appendix is to provide information to
those responsible for making decisions about suspending and restarting
games based on the presence of lightning.
Lightning is the most consistent and significant weather hazard that
While the probability of being struck by lightning is low, the odds
are significantly greater when a storm is in the area and proper safety
precautions are not followed.
Education and prevention are the keys to lightning safety.
Authorities should begin prevention long before any
athletics event or practice by being proactive and having a lightning
safety plan in place.
The following steps are recommended
to mitigate the lightning hazard:
Designate a person to monitor threatening weather and to make the
decision to remove a team or individuals from an athletics site or
A lightning safety plan should include planned instructions for
participants and spectators, designation of warning and all-clear
signals, proper signs, and designation of safer places for shelter from
Monitor local weather reports each day before any practice or event.
Be diligently aware of potential thunderstorms that may form during
athletics events or practices.
Weather information can be found through various means via local
television news coverage, the Internet,
or the Met Office website at www.metoffice.gov.uk.
Be informed of
Met Office severe weather warnings,
and the warning signs of developing thunderstorms in the area, such as
high winds or darkening skies.
Know where the closest safer structure or location is to the field or
playing area, and know how long it takes to get to that location.
A safer structure or location is defined as:
Any building normally occupied or frequently used by people, i.e., a
building with plumbing and/or electrical wiring that acts to electrically
ground the structure.
Avoid using the shower or plumbing facilities and having contact with
electrical appliances during a thunderstorm.
In the absence of a sturdy, frequently inhabited building, any vehicle
with a hard metal roof (neither a convertible, nor a golf cart) with the
windows shut provides a measure of safety.
The hard metal frame and roof, not the rubber
are what protects occupants by dissipating lightning current around the
vehicle and not through the occupants.
It is important not to touch the metal framework of the vehicle.
Lightning awareness should be heightened at the first flash of lightning,
clap of thunder, and/or other criteria such as increasing winds or
darkening skies, no matter how far away.
These types of activities should be treated as a warning or wake-up call
Lightning safety experts suggest that if you hear thunder, begin
preparation for evacuation; if you see lightning, consider suspending
activities and heading for your designated safer locations.
The following specific lightning safety guidelines have been developed
with the assistance of lightning safety experts.
Design your lightning safety plan to consider local safety needs,
weather patterns and thunderstorm types.
As a minimum, lightning safety experts strongly recommend that by the
time the monitor observes 30 seconds between seeing the lightning flash
and hearing its associated thunder, all individuals should have left
the athletics site and reached a safer structure or location.
Please note that thunder may be hard to hear if there is an athletics
event going on, particularly in stadiums with large crowds.
Implement your lightning safety plan accordingly.
The existence of blue sky and the absence of rain are not guarantees
that lightning will not strike.
At least 10 percent of lightning occurs when there is no rainfall and when
blue sky is often visible somewhere in the sky, especially with summer
Lightning can, and does, strike as far as 10 (or more) miles away from
the rain shaft.
Avoid using landline telephones, except in emergency situations.
People have been killed while using a landline telephone during a
Cellular or cordless phones are safe alternatives to a landline phone,
particularly if the person and the antenna are located within a safer
structure or location, and if all other precautions are followed.
To resume athletics activities, lightning safety experts recommend
waiting 30 minutes after both the last sound of thunder and last flash
If lightning is seen without hearing thunder, lightning may be out of
range and therefore less likely to be a significant threat.
At night, be aware that lightning can be visible at a much greater
distance than during the day as clouds are being lit from the inside by
This greater distance may mean that the lightning is no longer a
At night, use both the sound of thunder and seeing the lightning channel
itself to decide on resetting the 30-minute return-to-play clock before
resuming outdoor athletics activities.
People who have been struck by lightning do not carry an electrical
Therefore, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is safe for the
If possible, an injured person should be moved to a safer location before
Lightning-strike victims who show signs of cardiac or respiratory arrest
need prompt emergency help.
Call 999 for assistance.
Prompt, aggressive CPR has been highly effective for the survival of
victims of lightning strikes.
Automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) have become a common, safe and
effective means of reviving persons in cardiac arrest.
Planned access to early defibrillation should be part of your emergency
However, CPR should never be delayed while searching for an AED.
Weather watchers, real-time weather forecasts and commercial
weatherwarning devices are all tools that can be used to aid in
decision-making regarding stoppage of play, evacuation and return to
Outside locations increase the risk of being struck by lightning when
thunderstorms are in the area.
Small covered shelters are not safe from lightning.
Dugouts, rain shelters, golf shelters and picnic shelters, even if they
are properly grounded for structural safety, are usually not properly
grounded from the effects of lightning and side flashes to people.
They are usually very unsafe and may actually increase the risk of
Other dangerous locations include areas connected to, or near, light
poles, towers and fences that can carry a nearby strike to people.
Also dangerous is any location that makes the person the highest point
in the area.
Adapted by IFAF from NCAA guidelines.
For more information see
A concussion is a brain injury that
caused by a blow to the
head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body with an "impulsive"
force transmitted to the head.
Concussions can occur without loss of consciousness or other obvious
A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers
the previous one (hours, days or weeks) can slow recovery or increase
likelihood of having long-term problems.
In rare cases, repeat
result in brain swelling, permanent brain damage and even death.
Recognize and Refer:
To help recognize a concussion, watch for the following two events
during both games and practices:
A forceful blow to the head or body that results in rapid movement of
Any change in the
behavior, thinking or physical functioning (see signs and symptoms).
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
[table omitted for technical reasons]
An athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with
a concussion, either at rest or during exertion, should be removed
immediately from practice or competition and should not return to play
until cleared by an appropriate health care professional.
Sports have injury timeouts and player substitutions so that
can get checked.
IF A CONCUSSION IS SUSPECTED:
Look for the signs and symptoms of concussion if the
has experienced a blow to the head.
Do not allow the
to just "shake it off".
athlete will respond to concussions differently.
Ensure that the
by an appropriate health care professional.
Do not try to judge the severity of the
Immediately refer the
to the appropriate athletics medical staff, such as a certified athletic
trainer, team physician or health care professional experienced in
concussion evaluation and management.
to return to play only with permission from
Allow athletics medical staff to rely on their clinical skills and
protocols in evaluating the athlete to establish the appropriate time
to return to play.
A return-to-play progression should occur in an individualized,
step-wise fashion with gradual increments in physical exertion and risk
Follow your institution's physician supervised concussion management
Develop a game plan.
should not return to play until cleared by the appropriate
In fact, as concussion management continues to evolve with new science,
the care is becoming more conservative and return-to-play time frames
are getting longer.
Coaches should have a game plan that accounts for
to be out for at least the remainder of the day.
Back to index
Editor: Jim Briggs, BAFA/BAFRA Rules Committee