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Discussion: OUSA

in: Orienteering; General

Feb 1, 2017 12:55 PM # 
Happy February! I figured I'd start a new thread to talk about OUSA topics.

There is a Board meeting tonight, and also an open call for clubs to learn about our insurance policy from our agent.

I received my copy of ONA in the mail yesterday. Actually, three copies came to my house, as we have a bunch of orienteers who live here for a while and then move on, sometimes without telling the post office to change their address...

Reminder: Peter Goodwin is collecting ideas for how to spend the 50th Anniversary Fund money that was raised for the purpose of club growth. This is your chance to take all that AP chatter and turn it into action.

I encourage all US orienteers to read through the Junior National Program application; it really shows the commitment that Erin requires of juniors, and filling it out requires that you really lay out your reasons for being involved in orienteering and be explicit about your goals. Erin has told me that they will continue to consider applications even though the deadline for the initial team has passed. So do encourage your juniors to consider applying - it is a great way to get to know other kids who are really into the sport, and to grow as an athlete.

Kris mentioned in the newsletter that Erin will be stepping down as full time coach after the summer, but will continue to be involved, and that he's working on a proposal. I would like to see him continue as national junior coach, part-time, and participate in a group of people implementing youth orienteering more broadly in clubs. I have learned so much from Erin, and really appreciate how much he has built: the year-round team, the training plans, logging; the much deeper and more successful JWOC teams; the intensive training trips; the outreach to younger kids at A meets. The Safety Committee that came out of his open parent calls. I personally have learned so much from him about how to approach teaching kids orienteering, and I look forward to learning more - including through a coaching certification weekend we're hoping to make happen in June in Boston.

I joined the Board with a goal of expanding our broader junior programs. I've been a little distracted by the finances, but would like to really get out there over the next few months with some new initiatives. World Orienteering Day is off to a start, with about 8-10 clubs having provided contacts, and a plan to create a flyer that clubs can distribute to teachers who might put on their own event.

What else is happening?
Feb 1, 2017 4:49 PM # 
I'm sorry that Erin won't be full time after summer. Will OUSA be seeking candidates to replace the loss? If so, starting early may help increase the chance of finding a top candidate. It's a bit of a specialised position, if done well.
Feb 2, 2017 11:48 AM # 
Thanks, Jim. Erin has made a proposal that I really like, keeping him involved with the team, while also addressing coaching certification and development of youth programs in clubs. Alex (VP Competition), Kris (Prez) and Bill (JTESC chair) are working with Erin to develop it. I feel hopeful about the future of outreach to youth (also excited about the scouting thread and JROTC potential), and look forward to being part of a big effort in that area in 2017.
Feb 2, 2017 12:00 PM # 
We had a good meeting about insurance last night. There were at least 16 people representing clubs all over the USA in attendance. The slides have been posted on the OUSA insurance information page.

A key takeaway is that we need to start a practice of filing incident reports for injuries at local and national meets. We will roll that out soon. Having these reports will make it easier for injured people to file claims against our medical insurance. Our insurance agent can send them the forms after getting the information. OUSA medical insurance is secondary insurance (kicks in after your primary insurance), and has zero deductible. Thus it can cover any co-pay that you incur. Having all the information recorded soon after the event, and having a club representative sign off on it, means that if the insurance company questions it at all, we have documentation that will make it easier to make a successful claim. So the reports can benefit the injured person.

In addition, the reports help us protect OUSA against liability claims. Memories fade over time, and having the reports will help find the people who were there on that day and clarify what happened.

OUSA has a very good track record, so far, with few claims filed. Our premiums could skyrocket if we had a number of claims, particularly if negligence on our part could be shown. For that reason, it's important that we use common sense and share good practices about risk mitigation to keep our events as safe as possible for all participants.

I have been impressed by Greg Joly and the Loomis & LaPann insurance agency. They work with a lot of US Olympic sports, insure 140,000 high school coaches, and deal directly with insurance companies to design their products. They are approachable and willing to talk with club representatives at any time.
Feb 2, 2017 4:31 PM # 
The phone/web meeting last night re insurance was very informative. Thank you Barb for setting it up for us.

Re written incident reports: FINALLY! My "other job" is search and rescue and this has been a huge issue for me with O meets and other field events. In fact, after last night I decided to end my support of a local trail race. The other leaders have been largely putting me off for years about risk mitigation. They have come far but not far enough.
Feb 3, 2017 9:17 PM # 
My biggest concern with the incident report is that it might be used in a way that would encourage people to make claims. I think one of the reasons that we have such a good claim history is that our participants tend to take responsibility for themselves. They recognize that it's a sport that might result in injuries and they are prepared to take that risk and handle the injuries themselves.

While I know it is important to maintain incident information in case of medical or liability claims, I want to make sure we aren't opening the door to a lot of claims that we currently aren't getting.
Feb 3, 2017 9:57 PM # 
I think I can speak to smittyo's concern, from experience with a state Search and Rescue program, NMSAR, which in a number of ways resembles OUSA.

NMSAR has 180-200 missions annually, around 2,000 long term volunteer SAR responders, 11,000 hrs/yr in the field on missions. We don't count travel, meeting, or training hours. Unlike O, SAR does not involve running, so we see far fewer minor injuries. But we do have injuries. NMSAR provides basic medical and liability insurance and forms, and ICs (=meet directors) are required to document and report injuries, even if it is no more than "[Name] is limping, says it is nothing" and to inform the injured person of their coverage. Very few injury reports are followed by claims.

For an O club I would set the bar much higher, far above limping for example. I would start from the top and work down, actually. Report persons who die, who get carried out of the field, who get taken away in a helicopter or ambulance, who get driven to a hospital, who make or get a 911 call made about them for any reason. Maybe stop there. Scrapes and scratches, that's so normal it wouldn't be reportable. You're all expert at assessing them and knowing when something is not right.

My experience has been that incident reporting is good for everyone, individuals and teams (=clubs) and organization.
Feb 4, 2017 12:19 AM # 
Guidelines for incident reports will definitely be needed. Sprained ankles and bleeding from the head are causes for alarm in some arenas, but a common minor occurrence in orienteering. "You know you're bleeding from the head, right?"
Feb 4, 2017 1:13 AM # 
We need to be realistic in what is reported. If someone is stung by a bee and goes to the hospital, is that reportable? Yes, probably, but it is unrelated to the course setting and part of what the individual might expect running in the woods. Historically, there have been no claims against OUSA/USOF. Those participating accept the risks. Yes, we should report issues and document them but there is a certain level that is just normal for active people.
Feb 4, 2017 2:24 AM # 
One of the worst injuries I've ever been aware of happened on the walk to the start. Freak accident, and I guess it comes with the territory, but not wht anybody would expect, and it happened on a specified route.

Can an individual who has an incident request that a report not be filed, or does the meet director have a responsibility to report anything he knows about?

This discussion thread is closed.