Safety

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Long Track Speed Skating Crash Protection and Prevention

Revised: June 29, 2012

Speed Skating Canada has prepared a specifications and guidelines document to be the primary reference for establishing minimum padding standards for both practice and competitions skating contexts.Please keep in mind that “adequately safe” does not mean “perfectly safe”. No crash protection system will eliminate the risks of getting injured in long track speed skating. However, by following these specifications and guidelines, and by using safe skating behaviours, the probability and severity of the risks will be reduced. Members are always encouraged to exceed minimum standards so that we can provide more than just an “adequately safe” field of play.

Ultimately, to prevent injuries from crashes and/or reduce their severity; crash protection (including pads and/or snowbanks) is only part of the answer. If a long track speed skater falls and slides off the track, there are several ways in which injuries from the impact can be prevented/mitigated:

  1. Reduce Speed Prior to Impact – The longer a skater slides on the ice, the slower the skater will be going when he/she does hit the pads/snowbanks. Ice should be prepared such that the non-track ice is “rough”. The increased sliding friction will help reduce impact speeds into the pads/snowbanks.
  2. Hit the Pads/Snow Properly – Skaters must be coached to fall “properly” into the pads/snowbanks i.e. NOT going in head-first or feet-first. Skaters should do whatever they can (that does not endanger other skaters) to achieve this result. Ideally, skaters should try to hit the pads/snowbanks with as much of their body surface area as possible, to distribute the impact forces. Also, skaters should brace (or stiffen themselves) for the impact. This will also help protect them from various injuries.
  3. The Thicker the Crash Protection the Better – If skaters are going to slide off the track, we want pads/snowbanks between the skaters and any obstructions like trees or poles. As a sound general principle, the more padding/snow you have, the safer things will be. More material will absorb more impact energy instead of the skater absorbing that energy.
  4. Foam/Snow Type Matters – There are many pad/snowbank details that subtly influence safety, but the last major consideration in crash protection is the compressibility of your crash protection. In general, use soft-medium compressibility pads, if you are using pads as they will become stiffer in cold environments. If you are using snow, make sure that you can compress the snow to some extent by pushing into it with one arm. Otherwise, it may be too hard to provide much energy dissipation on impact. The basic principle is that firmer crash protection can handle higher energy impacts, but firmer crash protection can also increase the chance of injury if skaters hit the pads head or feet first. Softer crash protection, on the other hand, can be dangerous for high energy impacts if the soft protection is in front of hard, fixed objects. But soft crash protection will be safer for most types of low energy impacts.

Contact SSC (safety@speedskating.ca) if you wish to discuss your foam choices.

Long Track KEF Values

Short Track Speed Skating Crash Protection and Prevention

Revised: June 29, 2012

Speed Skating Canada has prepared a specifications and guidelines document to be the primary reference for establishing minimum padding standards for both practice and competitions skating contexts.Please keep in mind that “adequately safe” does not mean “perfectly safe”. No crash protection system will eliminate the risks of getting injured in speed skating. However, by following these specifications and guidelines, and by using safe skating behaviours, the probability and severity of the risks will be reduced. Members are always encouraged to exceed minimum standards so that we can provide more than just an “adequately safe” field of play.Ultimately, to prevent injuries from crashes and/or reduce their severity, padding is only part of the answer. If a speed skater falls and slides into the boards, there are several ways in which injuries from the impact can be prevented and/or mitigated:

  1. Reduce Speed Prior to Impact – The longer a skater slides on the ice, the slower the skater will be going when he/she does hit the boards. Ice should be prepared such that the non-track ice is “rough”. The increased sliding friction will help reduce impact speeds into the boards.
  2. Hit the Boards Properly – Skaters must be coached to fall “properly” into the boards i.e. NOT going in head-first or feet-first. Skaters should do whatever they can (that does not endanger other skaters) to achieve this result. Ideally, skaters should try to hit the boards/mats with as much of their body surface area as possible, to distribute the impact forces. Also, skaters should brace (or stiffen themselves) for the impact. This will also help protect them from various injuries.
  3. The Thicker the Pads the Better – If skaters are going to hit the boards, we want pads between the skaters and the boards. As a sound general principle, the more padding you have, the safer things will be. More padding will absorb more impact energy instead of the skater absorbing that energy. You can achieve this by using thick pads or by doubling-up thinner pads.
  4. Foam Type Matters – There are many pad details that subtly influence safety, but the last major consideration in crash protection is the compressibility of your pads. For pads along the ends of the straightaways, firmer foam is best because you want to bounce off those pads. For the rest of the rink, it’s more complicated. If you only have one layer of pads (say up to 12” thick), they should either be of medium firmness or if you have two layers of foam within the 12” then the front layer should be softer than the back layer. The basic principle is that firmer foams can handle higher energy impacts, but they can also increase the chance of injury if skaters hit them head or feet first. Softer foams, on the other hand, can be dangerous for high energy impacts but they will be safer for most types of low energy impacts. In general, try and have enough pad thickness that you can put softer foam in front and stiffer foam in back (either within one pad, or by using doubled-up pads of different firmnesses). A soft front with a stiffer middle and then a soft back can also be quite effective.

Contact SSC (safety@speedskating.ca) if you wish to discuss your foam choices.

Short Track KEF Values

Sport Injury and Medical Emergency Committee (SIMEC)

Sport Injury and Medical Emergency Committee

Mandate

Establish priorities and make recommendations to Speed Skating Canada (SSC) regarding the development and implementation of policies and procedures pertaining to sport injury and medical emergencies.

Mission

To lead and to act, enabling the speed skating community to effectively protect itself from and respond to injury.

Vision

In 2020, all of SSC’s stakeholders will view speed skating as a safety-conscious and safety-diligent sport. Injury rates will be low and serious injuries will be all but absent in Canada. SSC will be a recognized and influential international leader in effective injury prevention and response through multidisciplinary collaboration and a broad, systematic approach that is grounded in sound risk management practices as well as three-pillar sustainability.

Regular reviews and high-quality research will proactively ensure continuous improvement and use of best practices. Our injury prevention practices will be stage appropriate for all participants and will be based on evidence associated with probability of risk in each context. A comprehensive and reliable injury monitoring system will be in place across all stages of development and all levels of training and competition in Canada.SSC will enable its existing and new partners in the development of safe speed skating environments, in part through effective and timely knowledge transfer. Clubs and branches will be empowered to explore even higher standards.

Values

Sustainability.Integrity.Multidisciplinarity.Excellence.Collaboration.