Lightning’s behavior is random and unpredictable. Preparedness and a quick response are the best defenses to minimize the lightning hazard. It is imperative that all student-athletes, athletic staff members, game officials, and spectators are aware of the potential that lightning can strike even if the storm is miles away.
Per the NCAA Lightning Safety Guideline (June 2014), the Capital University athletic training staff will monitor weather conditions prior to and during all outdoor team activities to help prevent lightning injury and fatality. Monitoring will be conducted through a combination of local weather reports, the National Weather Service (NWS) alerts, observing for signs of developing thunderstorms, and lightning detection service.
Lightning detection services will be used as available. Real-time lightning detections services that have been independently and objectively verified are optimal. However, in the absence of independently and objectively verified real-time services, non-objectively verified lightning detection service strike distance of 10 miles from outdoor activities in combination with observations, NWS alerts, and local weather reports will be used to make decisions for postponing outdoor activities.
“If you see it, flee it; if you can hear it, clear it.” When lightning is seen or thunder is heard, participation shall cease. The game administrator along with the athletic director is responsible for clearing teams and fans from the area to seek a safe shelter.
A safe shelter is defined as any fully enclosed building normally occupied or frequently used by people, with plumbing and/or electrical wiring that acts to electrically ground the structure. Avoid using showers, plumbing facilities, and electrical appliances, and stay away from open windows, and doorways during the storm (NCAA Sports Medicine Handbook, 2014-2015). In absence of a safe shelter, any vehicle with a hard metal roof with windows shut provides a measure of safety.