Athletic Advantage: Lightning Saftey

Published 04/11 2013 05:32PM

Updated 04/15 2013 03:57PM

    Early evening thunderstorms are most common from spring through fall. And that's also when we see many athletes outdoors playing baseball, golf, and soccer as well as many other outdoor activities. 
    While athletic trainers are responsible for treating injuries such as sprained ankles or sore shoulders, they also take responsibility for monitoring storms at events.
       "The UIL has a lightning guideline. They use the flash to bang method which is when you see the lightning you count the seconds til you hear the thunder and that gives you a rough estimate of where the thunderstorm is," says athletic trainer Jason Pirkey.
      There are an average of 42 fatalities in the U.S. per year attributed to lightning strikes. According to the national athletic trainers association, 15% of those fatalities are linked to sporting events.
       "Lightning can strike 10-12 miles outside a thunderstorm....if it gets 10-12 miles you want to start getting the players off the field," says Pirkey.  
    The national weather service suggests "when thunder roars....go indoors"
    "The best place to go is in a shelter which has four walls, with electrical and telephone lines and plumbing. That way if there is a lightning strike the lines and plumbing will disperse the current," says Pirkey 
    The national weather service also suggests "half an hour since thunder roars, now it's safe to
go outdoors!" 

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