Newsletter #17

 


Jan Johnson’s Pole Vault Safety and Technique News Letter

March 4, 2014

The Politics of Safety in Pole Vaulting

Last week, for the second time in the past 6 months increased plant box area padding won the day.  Mr. Bruce Cranner a lawyer representative of the US track coaches association with no pole vault experience has now sponsored two such motions to remove the box collar specification from the pole vault equipment area, both having failed to get the required number of votes.

Some say that Mr Cranner is in fact a proxy attorney for UCS (one of the largest landing pad and vaulting pole manufactures domestically). UCS has steadfastly refused to sign a licensing agreement with Gill sports for the rights to sell their patented design (a collar with wings which pad the interior upper plant box walls, and tapers around the bend cavity), they instead have chosen to try to discredit it, and remove it from ASTM specification.

What follows are some of the key statements written by ASTM PV equipment members who voted against the removal of F2949.

Peter M McGinnis

Chairman F08.67 Pole Vault Equipment sub committee

USATF Pole Vault Biomechanics

CORTLAND, NY

Statement:

My negative vote is a vote to maintain F2949 Standard Specification for Pole Vault Box Collars as an active standard. Withdrawal of a standard is an extreme action that should be undertaken only if other measures have not been successful. Any problems with the standard should first be addressed by revising the standard, not withdrawing it.

Bruce Cranner made a number of statements in his rationale for withdrawal of F2949 as an active standard. My responses to these specific statements by Mr. Cranner are presented in the bullet points that follow.

Mr. Cranner states that problems created by F2949

… can only be eliminated by immediate withdrawal of this Standard.

If there are problems with F2949, revision of F2949 is a more prudent course of action

rather than withdrawal of F2949. Withdrawal of F2949 will be a step backward in pole

vault safety. Box collars that conform to F2949 provide much better protection to a pole

vaulter who lands in or near the pole vault box than the box collars in use prior to the

establishment of F2949.

Mr. Cranner describes the first problem created by F2949 as:

“1) The lack of compliance with ASTM Rules 15 and 19 regarding the incorporation of patented elements in the Standard and potential anti-competitive restrictions on the use of the Standard.” This is not a reason to ballot the withdrawal of a standard. The Committee on Standards (COS) “verifies that the procedural requirements of the Society’s regulations and its criteria for due process have been satisfied.” If ASTM procedures or regulations were not satisfied it is the responsibility of the COS to withdraw the standard.

This box area set up at a Midwest college is prototypical. Black lines represent ASTM F2949 specification padding requirements now mandated at the NCAA level.

Mr. Cranner describes the second problem created by F2949 as: “2) the inclusion of the controversial ‘wings’ element in the Standard and questions about the need for pole vault box collars.” The “inclusion of the controversial ‘wings’ element in the Standard” addressed a limitation of most existing box collars. The most dangerous impacting surface in the pole vault box area is on the top edges of the pole vault box where it meets the runway. The anvil created by this edge was often uncovered by traditional box collars that easily slipped out of place. The wings specified in F2949 overlap most of the top edges of the metal pole vault box thus padding these dangerous edges. The wings also help to hold the box collar in position. McGinnis - Negative Vote - Ballot F08 (14-01) - Item 16 2 The need for box collars is recognized by both the NCAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSHSA). Box collars have been specified in the NCAA and NFSHSA rules for more than 10 years. Their rules, however, did not specify the performance characteristics of box collars. The F08.67 subcommittee determined that a standard was needed to specify the performance characteristics of box collars.

Mr. Cranner describes the third problem created by F2949 as: “3) a genuine dispute over the test methods and performance criteria which should be required by the Standard. There is also a very significant engineering dispute about the

efficacy and safety of the “wings” design element contained in the Standard and the need for pole vault box collars at all.” The impact test method used in F2949 is that described in F1292. F1292 is a well established and widely used test method. The performance criteria specified in F2949 can be realistically met with existing materials while providing much more protection than box collars that were not made to meet any standard. The statements about the wings and the need for box collars are repeated and were addressed in the previous bullet point. Mr. Cranner further states:“The NCAA has mandated the use of pole vault box collars conforming to F2949 with “wings” in all sanctioned events as of Dec. 1, 2013. The National Federation of State High School Associations will mandate use of a pole vault box collars conforming to F2949 in the summer of 2014. The vast majority of the members of F08.67 are not confident that pole vault box collars conforming to Standard F2949 are needed, efficacious and safe or should be mandated without further analysis or testing. Many members of F08.67 fear that pole vault box collars conforming to F2949 may in fact decrease safety. Further, box collars made to conform to F2949 are very expensive. At the high school level, the expense of a new conforming box collar may cause the event to be dropped nationally.”

The decision by the NCAA and the NFSHSA to mandate the use of box collars

conforming to F2949 is a compelling reason to maintain F2949 as an active standard

rather than to withdraw it. The decision by these two organizations that determine the

rules for track and field in most colleges, universities, and high schools throughout the

United States was not done without careful consideration. The membership of F08.67 increased dramatically following the establishment of the NCAA rule mandating the use of box collars conforming to F2949. The participation of these new members in F08.67 activities is welcome, but revising F2949 is a quicker path to improving safety in the pole vault event rather than withdrawing the standard completely. It is primarily these new members who support the withdrawal of F2949. They do not represent a “vast majority of the members of F08.67.” Many critics of the box collars conforming to F2949 have said that not enough vaults – especially at elite levels – have been performed with an F2949 box collar in place. These critics have also expressed concern that an F2949 box collar may limit the heights achieved by our best vaulters. The current indoor collegiate track and field season refutes this criticism. All pole vault competitions at NCAA track and field meets after December 1, 2013 were done with F2949 box collars in place. The NCAA Div. I pole vault marks listed on the Track & Field Results Reporting System (www.TFRRS.org) for the 2012-13 indoor season are very similar to those listed for the current 2013-2014 indoor season (as of Feb. 20, 2014). The top NCAA Div. I men’s vault for the 2012-13 indoor season up to Feb. 20, 2013 was 5.61 m while the top mark for this season is 5.70 m. Eight vaulter’s have cleared 5.50 m or higher this season while 10 vaulters had cleared that mark or higher at this date last year. The 10th best vaulter this year has cleared 5.44 m, while the 10th best vaulter last year had cleared 5.50 m. The women’s marks are similar. The best NCAA Div. I women’s vault at this date in the 2012-13 indoor season was 4.50 m while the best mark for this season is 4.45 m. Twelve women vaulters have cleared 4.30 m or higher this season while only 6 women vaulters cleared 4.30 m or higher last year at this date. The 10th best woman vaulter this year has cleared 4.31 m, while the 10th best woman vaulter last year had cleared 4.25 m. Box collars conforming to F2949 have not affected the pole vault performances of the nation’s best collegiate vaulters in the current indoor season.

Mr. Cranner further states: “More work is needed to ensure that any ASTM pole vault box collar standard (if one is in fact needed) contributes to a reduction in the most common forms of injuries suffered by athletes in pole vault box falls, does not create new hazards or risks and is not restricted by a single patent to a single manufacturer. In fact, the very specific design of F2949, if “wings” are included, may be controlled by a single manufacturer or may be

owned by ASTM. These concerns can be eliminated by withdrawal of F2949 now.” F2949 impact tests are those specified in F1292. The criteria are based on catastrophic head injuries. Protection that is designed to prevent catastrophic head injury will also reduce other more common injuries caused by impacts as a result of falls. Catastrophic head injuries are not common in pole vaulting – but they have occurred. Covering the edges of the aluminum pole vault box as well as the hard surfaces that surround it will reduce the risk of catastrophic head injuries in this area and will also reduce the risk of less severe injuries to other body parts if a vaulter falls onto or close to the pole vault box. Mr. Cranner further states: “Specification Standard F2949 is too specific with regard to design. There is more work needed to establish performance standards and/or specification standards which will

permit and encourage manufacturers to create new and innovative box collar designs and injury reducing equipment for pole vault. Also, padding within the box collar (‘wings”) is controversial and not universally accepted by athletes and coaches; padding within the vault box violates International Association of Athletics Federation Rules and USA Track and Field Rules. These organizations provide international and U.S. national governance of the sport.” McGinnis - Negative Vote - Ballot F08 (14-01) - Item 16 4 Withdrawing a standard because it is “too specific with regard to design” is an overreaction. The specificity of F2949 with regard to design can be easily addressed with revisions to the existing standard rather than withdrawal of the standard. Withdrawal of the standard is not progress. Withdrawal of the standard will not improve safety or reduce risk in the pole vault, but it will decrease safety and increase risk in the pole vault. Mr. Cranner’s statements regarding the International Association of Athletics Federation Rules and USA Track and Field Rules are not relevant since F2949 is a voluntary standard. Mr. Cranner’s reasons for withdrawing F2949 are not convincing. The only argument with any teeth that Mr. Cranner presents is that F2949 is “too specific with regard to design.” But this is a reason to revise the standard, not a reason to withdraw the standard. The withdrawal of F2949 is not warranted.

F2949 box area padding dimensions

In an effort to lean more we have tested the performance of hundreds of items.

Eddie Seese

Former Chair PV Equip Sub Committee

SUN CITY AZ 85351

Statement:

During the debate on the suspending of ASTM Standard F 2949 (series), those that are leading the pole vault community have failed to address the issue of pole vault athlete safety. When I brought our group to the ASTM, athlete safety was our only purpose. This focus has been allowed to drift. At that time, we required that members have a back round in science or engineering, or be a medical doctor and be an experienced pole vault coach. In the last year we have had an increase in membership. Now they come late to the game and are trying to do the same thing as members of the ASTM as they did in USATF. That is stop us from providing a safer environment for the athlete. One thing for sure, those against the present ASTM Standard F 2949 (series) have provided no science or engineering to show removal of the standard will result in an immediate

safer environment for the athlete. All they have provided so far is questionable opinions. To make matters worse, we have been provided with incomplete minutes of the meeting for the November 2013 meeting. Reports that were available at the meeting have not been provided to all the members of subcommittee. Finally, the data that the NCAA based their favorable decision on has not been provided. How is a member to vote without the science???

My personal test data shows that a box collar is definitely required to provide protection of the athlete on some pole vault pit front buns in use at the present time. Since no pole vault pit front bun provides any protection on the anvil of the pole vault box, withdrawal of ASTM Standard F 2949 (series) would result in much less protection of the athlete.

I’ve spent approximately $4,000.00 of my hard earned money on this testing. It is my intent to continue to do this testing and that test data will be used for updating the pole vault pit standard. For the complete copy of the report, E-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Yours in pole vault athlete safety,

Eddie Seese

Hard surfaces in the box and around the perimeter of the landing pads  account for nearly all of the known serious accidents.

A few programs  are unzipping their front buns and carving out some foam  so that the bending pole does not rub the inner edges of the front buns. Clearly from a shock attenuation this is a good trade off.

Kevin E Ferguson

SPOTTSVILLE, KY

Elite PV Coach

Statement:

Having used this style of box collar in my high school, USATF Club practices and High school competitions over the past 3 + seasons in Kentucky, it is in my opinion one of the best safety changes to occur in the pole vault since the 2003 rule change to enlarge the landing pits. From beginning vaulters to College vaulters with various degree of experience, we have encountered only a one instance where a vaulter had a problem. The vaulter planted his pole on the wing of the collar, at which time the pole glanced off of the wing and down into the bottom of box disrupting his vault, but he continued into the pit and landed safely. In 3 + years we have made 10,000 or  more plants into a box with this style of collar with one problem. the above stated one. Beginning vaulters who have never vaulted before have had ZERO problems planting with this box collar in

place. In my first track meets in which I had this collar in place vaulters from other schools who had never seen or vaulted with this box collar in place, vaulted with ZERO problems. And the original prototype of the box collar prior to the ASTM 2949 box collar that we were using had wings that went farther down into the box along the walls. But we still had practically no problems. Not with beginners, High school or collage vaulters. Those of you who say there is no test data on this style box collar are wrong. Gill sold nearly 300 of the prototype box collars before the ASTM 2949 Collar was approved. This box collar has been used and tested. Also there is a contingent of people out there that says the the ASTM and subsequent rule changes were approved on faulty injury data. I as a High School Coach and Club Coach say any level of safety improvement that we can accomplish with this box collar is a lot better than what we had. And if we can

eliminate just one Catastrophic, serious, or any other injury with this box collar then it is well worth it. I have witnessed an athlete break a pole and land on his head at the top of the back of the box with his feet up the angled portion of the pit behind the box with this box collar prototype. The vaulter got up and actually said to me that the box collar saved him from being injured and jumped again that day. I was officiating at a collage meet recently and heard a coach say that the new ASTM 2949 Box Collar, That is now a NCAA rule,had already saved one of his female vaulters from injury. This ASTM and this rule has already saved a vaulter from injury. Why would anyone vote to withdraw??

NAIA champion and Olympic Trials finalist checking it!

Rolf W Huber

Canada

Long Time F08 member

Statement:

1. This is a new standard that have now been mandated for use by two national athletic

organizations, which will continue whether this ballot passes or fails.

2. It would appear that some of the rationale for the withdrawal if that certain manufacturers are not able to manufacture the collar as described in the Standard. This is not grounds for withdrawal, but the start of a revision that is the normal process.

3. this is a sub-committee matter and as it is the result of a meeting resolution and the ballot item initiated in the sub-committee should first be submitted to the entire sub-committee prior to submission to the main committee as the technical requirements raised are best being first dealt with by a sub-committee ballot. As a result the ballot should be withdrawn and resubmitted as a subcommittee ballot.

4. Given that there are catastrophic and other injuries related to the vault box that are impact related, the withdrawal of the standard would leave a void that could take years to fill and place athletes at risk while a replacement rather than a revision is being worked on.

This type of collar is commonly seen in the Eastern USA. It provides very little protection and is constantly changing positions and making the front entry too small.

Cuesta College January 2013: Many methods exist to block the pads from sliding back.

Jim Lonergan

MOUNT PROSPECT, IL

Illinois PV Coaches Association

Statement:

I believe the current standard is a significant improvement in the safety of the pole vault. The planting box is a hard surface which poses the potential for significant injury. The box collar as designed in the standard reduces the injury potential in that area of the pole vault.

Jacqueline Marquardt

Chicago, Illinois

Illinois HS State Champion / Attorney at Law

Statement:

The changes in the box collar are only going to make the event safer. Covering the box with the new specifications is not going to inhibit vaulting, it is only going to cover a dangerous and hard area. Doing so will cut down on the risk of future injuries. Keep the new box collar specifications.

Peter M McGinnis

Chairman F08.67 Pole Vault Equipment sub committee

USATF Pole Vault Biomechanics

CORTLAND, NY

Statement:

My negative vote is a vote to maintain F2949 Standard Specification for Pole Vault Box Collars as an active standard. Withdrawal of a standard is an extreme action that should be undertaken only if other measures have not been successful. Any problems with the standard should first be addressed by revising the standard, not withdrawing it.

Bruce Cranner made a number of statements in his rationale for withdrawal of F2949 as an active standard. My responses to these specific statements by Mr. Cranner are presented in the bullet points that follow.

Mr. Cranner states that problems created by F2949

… can only be eliminated by immediate withdrawal of this Standard.

If there are problems with F2949, revision of F2949 is a more prudent course of action

rather than withdrawal of F2949. Withdrawal of F2949 will be a step backward in pole

vault safety. Box collars that conform to F2949 provide much better protection to a pole

vaulter who lands in or near the pole vault box than the box collars in use prior to the

establishment of F2949.

Mr. Cranner describes the first problem created by F2949 as:

“1) The lack of compliance with ASTM Rules 15 and 19 regarding the incorporation of patented elements in the Standard and potential anti-competitive restrictions on the use of the Standard.” This is not a reason to ballot the withdrawal of a standard. The Committee on Standards (COS) “verifies that the procedural requirements of the Society’s regulations and its criteria for due process have been satisfied.” If ASTM procedures or regulations were not satisfied it is the responsibility of the COS to withdraw the standard.

This box area set up at a Midwest college is prototypical. Black lines represent ASTM F2949 specification padding requirements now mandated at the NCAA level.

Mr. Cranner describes the second problem created by F2949 as: “2) the inclusion of the controversial ‘wings’ element in the Standard and questions about the need for pole vault box collars.” The “inclusion of the controversial ‘wings’ element in the Standard” addressed a limitation of most existing box collars. The most dangerous impacting surface in the pole vault box area is on the top edges of the pole vault box where it meets the runway. The anvil created by this edge was often uncovered by traditional box collars that easily slipped out of place. The wings specified in F2949 overlap most of the top edges of the metal pole vault box thus padding these dangerous edges. The wings also help to hold the box collar in position. McGinnis - Negative Vote - Ballot F08 (14-01) - Item 16 2 The need for box collars is recognized by both the NCAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFSHSA). Box collars have been specified in the NCAA and NFSHSA rules for more than 10 years. Their rules, however, did not specify the performance characteristics of box collars. The F08.67 subcommittee determined that a standard was needed to specify the performance characteristics of box collars.

Mr. Cranner describes the third problem created by F2949 as: “3) a genuine dispute over the test methods and performance criteria which should be required by the Standard. There is also a very significant engineering dispute about the

efficacy and safety of the “wings” design element contained in the Standard and the need for pole vault box collars at all.” The impact test method used in F2949 is that described in F1292. F1292 is a well established and widely used test method. The performance criteria specified in F2949 can be realistically met with existing materials while providing much more protection than box collars that were not made to meet any standard. The statements about the wings and the need for box collars are repeated and were addressed in the previous bullet point. Mr. Cranner further states:“The NCAA has mandated the use of pole vault box collars conforming to F2949 with “wings” in all sanctioned events as of Dec. 1, 2013. The National Federation of State High School Associations will mandate use of a pole vault box collars conforming to F2949 in the summer of 2014. The vast majority of the members of F08.67 are not confident that pole vault box collars conforming to Standard F2949 are needed, efficacious and safe or should be mandated without further analysis or testing. Many members of F08.67 fear that pole vault box collars conforming to F2949 may in fact decrease safety. Further, box collars made to conform to F2949 are very expensive. At the high school level, the expense of a new conforming box collar may cause the event to be dropped nationally.”

The decision by the NCAA and the NFSHSA to mandate the use of box collars

conforming to F2949 is a compelling reason to maintain F2949 as an active standard

rather than to withdraw it. The decision by these two organizations that determine the

rules for track and field in most colleges, universities, and high schools throughout the

United States was not done without careful consideration. The membership of F08.67 increased dramatically following the establishment of the NCAA rule mandating the use of box collars conforming to F2949. The participation of these new members in F08.67 activities is welcome, but revising F2949 is a quicker path to improving safety in the pole vault event rather than withdrawing the standard completely. It is primarily these new members who support the withdrawal of F2949. They do not represent a “vast majority of the members of F08.67.” Many critics of the box collars conforming to F2949 have said that not enough vaults – especially at elite levels – have been performed with an F2949 box collar in place. These critics have also expressed concern that an F2949 box collar may limit the heights achieved by our best vaulters. The current indoor collegiate track and field season refutes this criticism. All pole vault competitions at NCAA track and field meets after December 1, 2013 were done with F2949 box collars in place. The NCAA Div. I pole vault marks listed on the Track & Field Results Reporting System (www.TFRRS.org) for the 2012-13 indoor season are very similar to those listed for the current 2013-2014 indoor season (as of Feb. 20, 2014). The top NCAA Div. I men’s vault for the 2012-13 indoor season up to Feb. 20, 2013 was 5.61 m while the top mark for this season is 5.70 m. Eight vaulter’s have cleared 5.50 m or higher this season while 10 vaulters had cleared that mark or higher at this date last year. The 10th best vaulter this year has cleared 5.44 m, while the 10th best vaulter last year had cleared 5.50 m. The women’s marks are similar. The best NCAA Div. I women’s vault at this date in the 2012-13 indoor season was 4.50 m while the best mark for this season is 4.45 m. Twelve women vaulters have cleared 4.30 m or higher this season while only 6 women vaulters cleared 4.30 m or higher last year at this date. The 10th best woman vaulter this year has cleared 4.31 m, while the 10th best woman vaulter last year had cleared 4.25 m. Box collars conforming to F2949 have not affected the pole vault performances of the nation’s best collegiate vaulters in the current indoor season.

Mr. Cranner further states: “More work is needed to ensure that any ASTM pole vault box collar standard (if one is in fact needed) contributes to a reduction in the most common forms of injuries suffered by athletes in pole vault box falls, does not create new hazards or risks and is not restricted by a single patent to a single manufacturer. In fact, the very specific design of F2949, if “wings” are included, may be controlled by a single manufacturer or may be

owned by ASTM. These concerns can be eliminated by withdrawal of F2949 now.” F2949 impact tests are those specified in F1292. The criteria are based on catastrophic head injuries. Protection that is designed to prevent catastrophic head injury will also reduce other more common injuries caused by impacts as a result of falls. Catastrophic head injuries are not common in pole vaulting – but they have occurred. Covering the edges of the aluminum pole vault box as well as the hard surfaces that surround it will reduce the risk of catastrophic head injuries in this area and will also reduce the risk of less severe injuries to other body parts if a vaulter falls onto or close to the pole vault box. Mr. Cranner further states: “Specification Standard F2949 is too specific with regard to design. There is more work needed to establish performance standards and/or specification standards which will

permit and encourage manufacturers to create new and innovative box collar designs and injury reducing equipment for pole vault. Also, padding within the box collar (‘wings”) is controversial and not universally accepted by athletes and coaches; padding within the vault box violates International Association of Athletics Federation Rules and USA Track and Field Rules. These organizations provide international and U.S. national governance of the sport.” McGinnis - Negative Vote - Ballot F08 (14-01) - Item 16 4 Withdrawing a standard because it is “too specific with regard to design” is an overreaction. The specificity of F2949 with regard to design can be easily addressed with revisions to the existing standard rather than withdrawal of the standard. Withdrawal of the standard is not progress. Withdrawal of the standard will not improve safety or reduce risk in the pole vault, but it will decrease safety and increase risk in the pole vault. Mr. Cranner’s statements regarding the International Association of Athletics Federation Rules and USA Track and Field Rules are not relevant since F2949 is a voluntary standard. Mr. Cranner’s reasons for withdrawing F2949 are not convincing. The only argument with any teeth that Mr. Cranner presents is that F2949 is “too specific with regard to design.” But this is a reason to revise the standard, not a reason to withdraw the standard. The withdrawal of F2949 is not warranted.

F2949 box area padding dimensions

In this fall 2009 photo, we began testing just how narrow the two key openings could be. Testing showed that the body of this unit tested way too hard at 4500HIC

Harvey C Voris

HUNTINGTON BEACH CA

Chair F08

Statement

It is my opinion that the standard should remain and that immediate revision be undertaken since the NCAA has made compliance with this standard mandatory. With the internet, simple removal of the standard does not truly remove it especially if the NCAA is mandating compliance. With the standard “removed” and nothing in its place schools will still be required to comply unless the NCAA acts in parallel. When a new standard is written to replace this one a new ASTM number will be issued and, unless the NCAA updates their requirements, the old one will still be referenced creating more confusion.

Harv Voris

Chair F08

Dec 2012: Force Impact testing new revised prototype. Investigative costs including samples and testing 60k.

Bradley G Pickett

Arroyo Grande, Ca

Statement:

Dear fellow members,

I’ve been involved with the pole vault for about 25 years, even though I’m only 36

years old. I started at a very young age, and slowly progressed to a fairly decent

Division 1 college level, where I jumped over 18 feet multiple times. I also have

coached at all levels, watched thousands of jumps by athletes of all levels, as well as,

been coached by some of the very best in the sport. My experience with the event

should lead to some level of credibility, when writing my opinion on this standard.

Over the last couple of months I’ve read many emails encouraging committee

members to abandon the current box collar standard due to various reasons, but the

most popular being:

a.) Not sufficiently protecting the athlete from more common injuries, while

only focusing on catastrophic injury.

b.) Insufficient evidence provided by manufacturer/inventor of current box

collar efficacy.

c.) Monopoly on sales of product.

After careful consideration, including actually viewing the current box collar in

person, I’m of the opinion that the current requirement should stand. My applicable

ballot vote is NEGATIVE. My reasoning is that the current box collar goes a long way

toward protecting athletes from major head and neck injuries, which are the most

devastating and potentially deadly. Not only do I think the statistics provided by

the manufacturer illustrate proof that the box collar reduces force trauma from

impact, but my common sense when studying the collar in person (combined with

my vault experience) clearly reinforces my opinion. The current box collar is a

significant improvement over the almost non-existent protection that preceded it,

and that alone is a huge step.

Finally, I don’t consider product sales in my opinion and whether some may miss on

profits while others will gain in this endeavor. That is business. What I do know is

that the current box collar may save lives, and that should be the most important

factor.

Sincerely,

Brad Pickett

Spring 2008: prototype allowing only 18” front opening and 3.5” pole rotation.. Approximately  10,000 vaults were recorded on this set up without a problem. Note, foam inserts under wing. Additionally it was obvious that the shock attenuation was poor on the edges.

Adam Pierson

CHICAGO IL

Former Elite Vaulter / Coach

Statement:

To Whom it May Concern,

I DISAGREE WITH THE ACTION and prefer F2949 remain the current active standard.

While more work will prevail in years to come, in my opinion, the absence of a solution will be more costly than the implementation thereof.

Fall 2011 we began work on improving the shock attenuation to a more desirable level.

Russ Versteeg

New England School of Law

Elite coach, 50 yrs PV experience

BOSTON MA

:

Statement:

I am writing to offer some additional thoughts and opinions regarding the debate about the ASTM pole vault box collar, and the reasons for my NEGATIVE vote regarding the withdrawal of the current standard. I’m in somewhat of a unique position. I think it is important for you to be aware of a little about my background in order to appreciate my perspective on the issues of pole vault safety. I teach law at New England Law, Boston, and I coach a private pole vault club and a high school track & field team in Connecticut. The opinions stated herein are my personal opinions and not those of New England Law , Boston. I started pole vaulting in 1966 at age nine. I competed though high school and my freshman year in college. I’ve been coaching pole vaulters at Norwich Free Academy in Norwich, Connecticut since 2003. I started coaching the USATF club, Skyjumpers Connecticut, in 2006. In my capacity as a high school and club coach, I witness, first-hand, hundreds of practice vaults on a weekly basis, throughout the year. I have had the ASTM-design “winged” box collar at my indoor training facility in Connecticut for the

past five years. Consequently, I have witnessed athletes of all abilities – beginners, intermediates, and advanced jump – using this type of box collar. One of my club vaulters is K’Don Samuels who has vaulted 17’08” . K’Don placed second at theWorld Under-23 Championships last year. Among others who have practiced at this facility include college males who have vaulted 15 and 16 feet, and college females who have vaulted 12’6” .I have been at a number of meetings and read comments online where people have debated the safety of these “winged” box collars. I have heard and read some speculate that, perhaps, this shape box collar might prove to be a visual distraction, it might impede the plant, and that it might “cause” injuries. In my opinion, such speculation is completely unfounded, and just that mere speculation. Not a single athlete who has practiced at my facility during the past five years has experienced visual distraction, impeded plant, nor has the box collar “caused” injury in any other fashion. Just the opposite has been true. I have witnessed several occasions when an athlete has fallen into the box area and has walked away, unhurt because the wings of the collar protected him from suffering impact with the hard edges of the box. In my opinion, one of the principal advantages of this  winged design is the protection it provides on those hard, sharp edges of the box. I have been a full-time law professor since 1989. I teach Tort Law (i.e., accident and injury law), Sports Law, and Intellectual Property. I have written a sports law textbook and five professional journal articles that address the topic of pole vault safety as it relates to legal liability. I have served as an expert witness in two pole vault accident cases. I have a very strong professional opinion that the ASTM box collar design (i.e., with “wings” ) is the safest design currently available. From

what I know about the law of negligence and product liability, it would be both  unreasonable and irresponsible to allow pole vaulters today to practice or compete without the protection provided by the current ASTM winged box collar design.

I attended the ASTM pole vault subcommittee meeting on Thursday November 14, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. In that meeting, I expressed my opinion that it would be negligent for a venue operator or coach to allow vaulters to practice or compete without the winged ASTM compliant box collar. In my opinion, a number of those who attended the Jacksonville meeting and voted to re-ballot the design standard are making a serious mistake. I honestly don’t want to suggest improper motives. But one of our primary goals ought to be to provide as safe an environment for the pole vault as possible/practicable, given the current state of the art. I think that the ASTM winged box collar design offers the safest design available in the current state of the art. Thus, if the ASTM were to rescind the current winged box collar standard and rule making bodies

such as the NCAA and NFHS were to change their rules to no longer make the collar mandatory, I think that it will increase the probability that athletes will suffer injuries as a result of falls into the box area. And it logically follows that lawyers who represent athletes injured in the absence of the ASTM-compliant box collar will argue that the venue operators, coaches, NCAA, NFHS, and USATF would be negligent for failing to require the safer design. Requiring the ASTM winged collar design will protect athletes from injuries and will also protect venue operators, coaches, and the sports specific entities such as the NCAA, NFHS, and USATF from liability. Lastly, I would like to point out something that may be obvious. Unlike one of the other lawyers who spoke a great deal at the Jacksonville meeting on November 14, I am not a “hired gun” being

paid to make someone else’s argument. I am an independent law professor volunteering my own time, money, and professional scholarship efforts to improve the safety of the sport of pole vaulting. And my legal opinions are informed by a combination of my teaching/scholarship and also my hands-on coaching experience. If anyone at the ASTM would like to speak with me about this topic or my opinions, please feel free

to contact me 24/7. My email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (New England Law, Boston) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and my cell phone number is 860-857-8503. I am willing to come to meet in person if you would like.

Thank you,

Russ VerSteeg

Sky Jumpers clinic at Park Ridge,  Illinois the collar has moved too far back exposing too many hard surfaces. No doubt;  the edge of the front bun seen on the left side of the box  is helping it along in a rearward direction.

Michael P Yurcho

Cal Track Engineering

Elite Vaulter / coach

Statement:

The current ASTM box collar has already been reviewed and approved by the NCAA, embraced by the

athletes, and has not affected competition levels at all. I have already personally seen the new collar protect multiple potential injuries of vaulters landing in or around the box. The current collar is permanent/static once installed and doesn't need to be activated by anyone or anything. Someone (PhD or not) claiming the current collar could increase injury for vaulters has never landed butt first in the box or come down to have a foot, ankle or extremity slap into the side of the box after landing. Clearly the current collar helps prevent injuries in those circumstances. As far as the trip hazard comment, if someone is running full speed and steps in the plant box, safety collar or not, they are going to trip or slip and crash; 100% guaranteed. The current collar is effective during all usages at a vault facility, whether it be a single jumper doing drills on his/her own, or a practice with only one coach and a

handful of vaulters. It would seem with the flipping pad system, someone will have to be resetting this after every jump and we all know kids aren't going to be doing that and coaches certainly will throw it aside in small group practices. I am certain from my experiences with pole-vaulting and now building track facilities, any box collar that isn't fixed permanently and needs to be reset or have some sort of human over-site usage component, will effectively be disregarded and only brought out for a competition which I don't believe meets the goals of this ASTM committee in creating a standardized

protective permanent box collar. I would support there being an ASTM subcommittee created to discuss and standardize dynamic collar systems. However, at this point you are asking us to vote to withdraw the standardization of a permanent static system which clearly makes pole-vaulting safer at all levels while not affecting performance. By reversing the current standard I fear that we will undo the strides that have been made in box safety and enter into years of political battles over collar designs, meanwhile continuing to

expose thousands of vaulters to potential serious box injuries that my generation and previous generations of vaulters had to endure. I don’t believe that ASTM or our committee should take on the tremendous liability associated with repealing a standardization that clearly will prevent injuries and make pole-vaulting safer.

Regards,

Mike

The late great John Pennel  jumping at Hughs stadium in Sacramento, Ca 1968. Note t-shirt in bottom of old 90 degree box and pole rubbing the front of the pit.  Standards were only 12’ apart.

Tad scales

MORAGA CA

Former Elite vaulter

:

Statement:

I feel compelled to write the following:

- Risk Mitigation: removing an existing std. w/o a new,better std. immediately enacted leaves an existing risk unmitigated. The entire purpose of the existing std. is to mitigate risk (i.e. improve safety). removal of the std. leaves kids exposed to a higher degree of risk. It might not be perfect but, the existing std. is far better than nothing. I certainly wish I had it in place when I was vaulting. - NCAA: The NCAA has a cadre of lawyers, safety experts that review their safety standards. They are very very conservative. Ask yourself the simple question, why would we want to be out sync with the NCAA? In doing so, we open ourselves up for legal action etc. It literally does not make sense. - Data: The argument has been made that data was flawed and that the existing std. mandates

the wings on the box and as such it interferes with potentially new designs (R. Lake). Nothing is perfect when it comes to data. Sometimes you in fact make decisions based on imperfect data. Businesses do it all the time. But, the existing regs. Are a great step in the right direction. In time this too will evolve. Folks, if you have a better mouse trap, I am sure everyone would like to see it. - Some have argued the existing std. makes it difficult for pole movement. I have seen no independent data nor tests that would indiciate this to be the case. AS such, w/o independent data that argument should not be considered. We are here to deal strictyly with facts. - Safety: Folks, it is about SAFETY. If you have a better mousetrap then by all means bring it on. And, propose a new std. for consideration. - Money: Arguments based on profits, economic gains (and unfair competition) of any kind DO NOT belong in the same discussion as vaulter SAFETY. The entire purpose of the existing std. is to PROMOTE SAFETY, not economic profits. Solutions should be cost effective and indeed the existing std. is cost effective. I have spoke to several coaches at college and high school levels and they indeed confirm the cost of complying with existing stds. is not prohibitive. I am still haunted by first hand experience with 2 of the young men (” statistics” ) that passed away vaulting. So, let’s drop the money arguments. If you have a SAFETY based argument and can

persuade the Committee AND NCAA then please do so by working through the Committee standard applications processes. Else, I encourage everyone to leave the existing std. as is.

Left, the pads are over 18”  back of top of box , right attempting to pad with roll out runway material.

John J Amato

WESTFORD MA

Statement:

Although I understand the concerns of the Subcommittee members regarding the fact that the product that the Standard is written around is a Patented product and is a roadblock to competition and improved solutions, I do not believe withdrawal of this Standard is the appropriate course of action. ” The appropriate action is to:

A. Revise the Standard to create a Standard more in keeping with the spirit of competition and allow for new and improved solutions. B. Confirm or disprove injury data reviews by others indicating that the wings may not be accomplishing what was indicated in the Standard and referenced in the adoption letters of the two organizations.

C. Maintain a healthy and trustful relationship with governing bodies that look to ASTM for solutions and have adopted the Standard and not pull it out from under them.”

My reasoning is as follows:

1. It is my understanding that the Committee on Legal Issues has reviewed this. (According to our Staff Person). Not sure that they knew fully that it was a patented item.

2. This Standard has been adopted by two regulating bodies. Withdrawal of the Standard does not prevent them from using or referencing the Standard. They can still use it and will due to a complete lack of options. Why would any organization use ASTM Standards if we withdraw them

3. Removal of a Standard that was developed on the foundation of improving safety is a step backwards and sets a bad precedence for Bodies that use are Standards in their governing documentation.

4. There are persons in the industry that support the withdrawal that have reviewed the Standard and believe the supporting data was possibly misinterpreted.

This is a more constructive solution to the issue at hand. The Standard is a good foundation for

safety and appears to only need to be tweaked.

Thank you.

John J. Amato