The Journal of SPORT


The purposes of this study were to explore the current scenario of interscholastic athletics in regards to the existence and enforcement of lightning safety policies applied to athletic outdoor activities, and to identify the common practices related to lightning safety currently utilized. The results showed that 87.2% of the respondents (N=804) have lightning safety policies. However, only 90.3% of the respondents who have lightning safety policies actually enforce them. It seems that during practices coaches are most commonly responsible for making the decision to stop/resume activity, and that during games athletic directors are most commonly making the call. However, almost one third of the respondents (N=804) do not have a clear designation as to who makes the decision. A less than desirable percentage of respondents reported frequent use of a lightning detection system, availability of shelters for spectators, and posted lightning policy in facilities. Only 7.8% of the respondents indicated that all athletic coaches and staff receive lightning safety training. The results also showed that more experienced administrators were more likely to have and enforce lightning safety policies, and employ lightning safety best practices. This study provides high school athletic administrators and principals with relevant information that can be used to support their decision to adopt and enforce lightning safety policies for interscholastic athletic activities.