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Lightning and Severe Thunderstorms in Event Management

Walsh, Katie M. EdD, ATC, LAT

Current Sports Medicine Reports: May/June 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 3 - p 131–134
doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e3182563e95
Sideline and Event Management: Section Articles

There are a few national position stands/guidelines that address environmental conditions in athletics, yet they do not govern all outdoor sports. Extreme heat and cold, lightning, and severe wind can all be fatal, yet the majority of outdoor sports have no published guidelines addressing these conditions in relation to activity. Available research on extreme heat and cold conditions in athletics provides prevention strategies, to include acclimatization. Lightning and severe wind are two environmental conditions to which humans cannot accommodate, and they both can be deadly. There are strong positions on extreme heat/cold and lightning safety in athletics, but none affiliated with severe winds. Medical personnel involved in planning large outdoor sporting events must know of the presence of nationally published weather-related documents and apply them to their event. In addition, research needs to be expanded in the realm of establishing guidelines for safety to participants and spectators in severe wind conditions.

East Carolina University, Greenville, NC

Address for correspondence: Katie M. Walsh, EdD, ATC, LAT, 245 Ward Sports Medicine Building, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858; E-mail:

© 2012 American College of Sports Medicine