isk management makes me think about the difference between hockey and synchronized figure skating.
There are bragging rights between figure skaters and hockey players, according to my daughter, who is an avid synchronized skater. There is a popular saying among figure skaters that if figure skating was easy it would be called hockey. Hockey boys are padded, and their pads have pads, and they could be dropped out of an Apache helicopter, bounce off the ground, and probably still not feel it. Figure skater girls, on the other hand, are born to be wild, go out there with only their wits and the grace of God to protect them.
That’s not to suggest both camps do not have real athletes. I don’t want to suggest figure skaters are more athletic than hockey players. Everyone brings different skills to the table. I am sure it takes a certain amount of upper arm strength and athleticism for young hockey boys to drag that all that padding around. Hockey players on a good day might be able to bend it like Beckham. But figure skaters – they bend it like Circ du Soleil every day.
People will fall. It is a given both in risk management and in skating.
People in comp know about big injuries from small risks.
Work comp risk managers try to make the world safe, to keep potential claimants in bubbles, so they do not end up with herniated discs when they try to catch pens falling off of desks or hurt themselves using public toilets.
No one in risk management would green light ice skating. "This is crazy! You want them on something slippery… an entire rink of ice… and balanced on tiny sharp blades … and going really fast… and spinning with one foot extended over and behind the head …. I’ll get back to you on that…. And you want a whole block of them together synchronized? And no helmets?"
The likelihood of serious harm from high-risk skating moves is small because team skaters are really good at what they do. The ability to face risk builds confidence and does not overwhelm skaters with anxiety and fear of indecision about what might happen if they might fall. They know at some point they will fall. This is a forgotten lesson of over-sheltered parenting.
Skate parents are odd to encourage this sport because so many are so careful in most other aspect of parenting to encourage good diet, and exercise, and plenty of sleep. They teach their children not to dress up in black clothes and play in the street at night, or high diving from cliffs, or stand downwind from sweaty, teenage hockey boys.
Ice arena managers may know the local paramedics by first name. It’s classic risk management exercise to call them, to put up the Bat Signal, to get someone with a jump bag to figure out if someone is hurt or if they are really hurt. In an over-sheltered world of parenting, it is easy to think every little thing is the end of the world.
As a young boy I purposely set out with friends to find the most dangerous and steep hills to fly down on a bicycle without a helmet. It was the closest we came to thrill rides. I remember a sensei taught in martial arts classes from the very beginning to learn how to fall because everyone should expect to be taken to the ground.
I had gone years skating as an adult without any lessons or without taking a serious fall. I cannot recall precisely what happened last year in the seconds from skating alone and then being flat on my back. There were no flying tweeting birds, like the Warner Bros cartoons. I remember thinking the night was ending badly when I looked up at rink lights and paramedics told me “DON’T MOVE!” Don’t be that 1 in 1000 person that ends up like Natasha Richardson. Waiting too long to be seen is the last bad choice anyone whacked in the head could make. Why take that risk? I could make that choice to wait if I wanted, but just sign the waivers so they don't get blamed.
Ice is hard. I remember that.
We all get impatient when the computer reboots or reloads. Everyone hates the Microsoft hourglass. We all expect the hourglass to finish up quickly. Sometimes it takes awhile. Sometimes it takes the body a little time to reload the program, too.
A friend of mine told me he has eight or nine concussions. He had lost track how many. It was bragging rights. Maybe it was just odd reassurance.
I told him that a nurse suggested that maybe I should use a helmet.
He just smiled.