WMA safety officers can pull you from a meet if you’re ‘a danger’

World Masters Athletics has a new rule, approved by the Porto Alegre General Assembly, that puts a lot of power in the hands of “safety officers.” If they think your health is endangered — or you’re a risk to your rivals — you can be yanked from the track or field. No kidding! See the rule here: “The World Masters Athletics Council shall appoint a Safety Director. Who shall appoint one or more Safety Officers with authority to withdraw from competition any athlete whose continued participation in that competition would, in the opinion of the Safety Officers, endanger the athlete’s health or the safety of the other competitors. The Safety Officer may exercise their authority through deputies and both the Safety Officers and any Deputies shall be clearly identifiable with full accreditation.” Not sure why this is needed. But it smells bad.

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February 3, 2014

11 Responses

  1. Tom Phillips - February 4, 2014

    Been a feature of the European scene for a while, Ken. You’ll recall I blogged this piece recently, referring back to a notorious incident in 2010. http://tomsprints.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/dignity/

  2. Milan Jamrich - February 4, 2014

    I see how that would be useful

  3. Ken Stone - February 4, 2014

    Every major meet has waivers you sign that get the LOC off the legal hook if you drop dead midrace. So why is this rule needed?

  4. Mary Harada - February 4, 2014

    Isn’t there an official in charge of safety at USATF Masters track meets? Or am I so clearly out of it as to be a danger to myself? My friend Louise Adams was pulled off the track by an official in the 5k in Riccione – after that official called out to her and she turned to look – tripped and fell. They hauled her off to the emergency room despite her objections. I think the danger here is lack of understanding by these high and mighty officials with their badges dangling around their necks understanding what constitutes a “danger”. Louise was in no danger – except from the official who made a comment to her and distracted her. As I am approaching 80 (15 months) it is a very worrisome thing to me – that I could be dragged off the track because somebody who is basically clueless about older athletes does not like the way I list to port or starboard.
    Certainly there are times when athletes are in danger from heat exhaustion or even lightening strikes (does it seem odd to anyone that this rule was passed in Brazil where a race was continued in spite of lightening???) – a committee of 3 – wow – there will be trouble for sure – when this little gang of 3 decides that anyone over 75 just must be in danger.

  5. Courtland Gray - February 4, 2014

    If they had seen me on the last hurdle a couple of times, I might have been yanked before finishing. :)

  6. Quick Silver - February 4, 2014

    I guess this rule formalizes a power they’ve abrogated to themselves for a while. My wife was a safety judge in Clermont Ferrand (she’s a medical professional) and I have been consulted about the listing to port and starboard of members of my team. In the past I’ve always found the power to be exercised with appropriate discretion.

    Quick Silver
    Hong Kong

  7. Milan Jamrich - February 4, 2014

    As we get older our physical ability and our mental ability to judge our own condition gets diminished. It is probably not a bad idea to have a medical specialist to have a look at the situation.
    If used correctly, it might be prevent you from hurting yourself.

  8. Milan Jamrich - February 4, 2014

    Corr.: If used correctly, it might prevent you from hurting yourself..

  9. Mary Harada - February 6, 2014

    If the safety judges have medical training – a good thing to have such officials – if they do not – then it could be very arbitrary. I have no objections to well trained safety judges – and it is not just older athletes who need looking after. Some younger athletes push beyond the point of good sense in the heat and humidity – or for other reasons such as injuries- in an effort to compete. And I recall an instance in a WAVA meet where an athlete had to be restrained from attempting to compete in a relay after a fall resulted in a broken limb.. The competitive spirit can have a way of overcoming good sense. I suspect all of us are guilty of pushing ourselves close to the point of bodily harm or even beyond.

  10. Milan Jamrich - February 6, 2014

    I agree with you Mary

  11. Bill Newsham - February 10, 2014

    There goes my plan to carry a hockey stick in the in 1500m :(

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