Health, Safety and Liability Requirements

Downloadable Forms for Printing

USA Ultimate Athlete Health and Safety Packet
Contains tips every athlete and participant should know and has been compiled and reviewed by USA Ultimate staff and the USA Ultimate Medical Advisory Committee.  Our goal is to help athletes, coaches, event staff, and spectators enjoy a safe experience and perform at their best both on and off the field. 

USA Ultimate Organizer Health and Safety Packet: Managing a Safe Event
This is a printable version of the information below. Event organizers and tournament directors for all USA Ultimate official and sanctioned events have agreed to abide by the USAU Health & Safety Requirements. Use this document as a guideline to assure compliance with important safety requirements.

Event Medical and Inclement Weather Plan Template
Complete the Word form to plan for unexpected emergencies. Event organizers are required to complete these forms, share them with participants and keep them on hand during the event. If you are organizing a USAU sanctioned tournament you will recieve a link to this document for your specific event.

USA Ultimate Event Health and Safety Requirements

All Events
1. Emergency Medical and Safety Plan
2. Medical Area Requirements
3. Medical Staff Requirements
4. Health and Safety Tips
5. Weather and Wind Policies
6. Lightning Policy
7. Extreme Heat and Cold
8. Nutrition
9. Alcohol Policy
10. Minors- requirements for events with participants under 18
11. Liability Insurance
12. Concussion Safety & Awareness
13. Hospitalization Policy

Key: √ means requirement applies to that event type, multiple √s indicates an increased requirement

  • 1. Emergency Medical and Safety Plan
    • Complete the template provided at the top of this page.
    • Must keep copy at designated medic area at event site and communicate information in plan to teams prior to the event
  • 2. Medical Area Requirements
    • For any field site with more than 1 playing field, a set medical area must be designated for the duration of the event
  • 3. Medical Staff Requirements
    • Event Size (# of people including spectators) Normal Conditions (Heat Index <90F) Heat Caution (Heat Index >=90F and <100F)** Participant Age women>55, men>50 Time for ambulance to arrive >15mins
      < 50 A B C C
      50 - 250 B B D D
      250-500 D D D and AED D and AED
      501-999 1ATC 1ATC 1ATC and AED 1ATC and AED
      1000-1999 2ATC* and AED 2ATC* and AED EMT, 2ATC* and AED EMT, 2ATC* and AED
      >=2000 3ATC* and AED EMT, 3ATC* and AED EMT, 3ATC* and AED EMT, 3ATC* and AED

      *If majority of people are spectators, 2ATC can be replaced by D and 1ATC; 3ATC can be replaced by 2D and 1ATC.
      **When Heat Index gets to 100F, play must be suspended until heat index falls below 100F.

      Medical Contact (MC) must be 25 or older, must know how to get to the nearest hospital and must be able to call 911 immediately if needed. MC should provide the insurance claim form to injured participants, but questions related to what is covered by the policy need to be directed to the insurance company (not address by the MC).

        A = MC is on-site participant
        B = MC is on-site non-participant
        C = MC is on-site participant with basic first aid knowledge and CPR training
        D = MC is on-site non-participant with basic first aid knowledge and CPR training 
        ATC = Certified Athletic Trainer
        AED = An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is present at the tournament site
        EMT = Emergency Medical Technician or Paramedic on-site

      Note: If using satellite field sites, you must meet the above requirements for each satellite field site (more than 5 minutes away).  For example: If there are 500 players at one field site and 50 on another (that is more than 5 minutes away) then the first field site must at least meet the 250-500 event size requirements and the second field site must meet 50-250 event size requirements for my small field site.

  • 4. Health and Safety Tips for Athletes
    • A link to the USA Ultimate Athlete Health and Safety Packet (see top of page) will be distributed to team members by USA Ultimate prior to the event.
  • 5. Weather and Wind Policies
    • Complete the Inclement Weather Plan (linked at top of page) and share plan with team contacts.
    • In the event that changes need to be made to the competition format or schedule, the Formats Committee and Formats Manual are available as resources. (Note: Changes to Championship Series events must be approved by the appropriate USA Ultimate coordinator.)
    • USA Ultimate Wind Policy
  • 6. Lightning Policy
    • Please review these guidelines before your event and keep on hand for reference.  Adapted from the 2014-2015 NCAA Sports Medicine Handbook Lightning Safety Guidelines:

      Lightning can be a significant threat to the safety of participants in outdoor athletic events like ultimate.  The odds of being struck by lightning are significantly reduced when proper safety precautions are taken.  The following preventative steps should be taken by USA Ultimate event coordinators in an effort to maintain the safety of participants and spectators.
      • Establish a chain of command to determine who is watching for a potential lightning threat and who will make the call to stop play and send individuals to safety.  Communicate that plan in advance to participants and spectators so that they will quickly recognize that you are communicating a lightning delay.  Also communicate how they can get status updates during the delay.  Twitter and GroupMe have proved effective for updates during the delay.
      • Establish a means by which lightning safety decisions and procedures will be communicated effectively to participants and spectators.
      • Establish a means to monitor local weather conditions and weather advisories / warnings both prior to and during the event.  If there is a significant chance that lightning may impact your event, take the extra steps to be able to actively monitor the weather while on site with internet connected computers or other applications that can show weather radar and the proximity of lightning strikes.
      • Be aware of and be able to communicate to participants and spectators the location of the closest safe shelter.  Safe shelter includes the following:
        • First choice: Any frequently used building with electrical wiring and plumbing facilities which will help to ground the structure.  Shower facilities should be avoided.  Showers and other plumbing facilities should not be used during a storm event.  Determine in advance if these buildings will be unlocked and available as lightning shelters during your event.
        • Second choice: Any fully enclosed vehicle with a hard top and closed windows.  It is not the rubber tires that protect the occupants from a lightning strike, but the hard metal framework which dissipates the electric charge around the vehicle.  It is important to not touch the sides of the vehicle.  For teams that have hired buses to transport them, advise them to inform the bus drivers to be accessible should you determine that shelter should be sought.
      • If you can't get to a safe shelter, try to avoid being the tallest object in an open field or on open water.  Avoid other tall objects, metal objects, and water.  Assume a crouch position with only the balls of your feet touching the ground, your arms wrapped around your knees, and your head lowered.  Minimize contact with the ground.  Do not lie flat.
      • Avoid using telephone land lines.  Cell phones are safe provided the person has followed other safety guidelines.
      • Determining when you need to suspend activity and send people to shelter:  if you hear thunder OR your computer or app shows that lightning has struck within ten miles, suspend activity.  If you do not have access to a computer or app that shows the proximity of lightning strikes, suspend play if lightning is seen even if you cannot hear thunder. 

      • Wait at least 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder, or strike within ten miles (or flash of lightning if not using a detection app), before bringing captains/coaches together to determine how play at your event will continue.  Before convening that meeting, have thought through other aspects of your event since you may now need to continue beyond the scheduled time.  Such aspects should include medical staff, volunteer staff, any catering or other scheduled activities and whether or not they can be rescheduled, etc.
      • Teams choosing to seek shelter from lightning before you communicate that play should be suspended due to lightning should not be penalized for taking such action.  Their game should be considered suspended from the point in which it was stopped.
      • If someone is struck by lightning, observe the following procedures:
        • Survey the scene for safety
        • Call 911
        • Lightning victims are safe to touch. They do not carry a charge.
        • If necessary, move victim carefully to a safer location.
        • Evaluate airway, breathing and circulation.  Begin CPR if necessary.
        • Evaluate and treat for hypothermia, shock, fractures, and/or burns 
  • 7. Extreme Heat and Cold
    • Refer to Medical Staff Requirements above.  When the Heat Index reaches 100F, play must be suspended.  In colder temperatures and/or wetter conditions, it is important to be cognizant of conditions conducive to hypothermia.   Organizers should consult with event medical staff, discuss the situation with team captains, and be willing to adjust the schedule or delay/cancel games to ensure player safety.
  • 8. Nutrition
    • Refer to the Athlete Health and Safety Packet (see top of page) for some basic nutrition information.
  • 9. Alcohol Policy
    • USA Ultimate does not condone the unlawful or unauthorized use, possession, distribution, consumption, promotion, marketing, or sale of alcoholic beverages at USA Ultimate official, sponsored, sanctioned or affiliated events. Alcohol shall not be marketed, provided, served or sold at USA Ultimate official, sponsored, sanctioned or affiliated youth events (events where all of the participants are under 21).

      USA Ultimate members, players, organizers or representatives of the organization, must not compete at USA Ultimate official, sponsored, sanctioned or affiliated events, or carry out responsibilities related to official organization and event business, while under the influence of alcohol or illegal/banned drugs.  Additionally, these individuals must not engage in the unlawful or unauthorized use, possession, distribution or consumption of alcoholic beverages or illegal/banned drugs at said events or while representing USA Ultimate in an official capacity.

      NOTE: USA Ultimate liability insurance for your event does not include alcohol liability.
  • 10. Minors: Requirements Specific to Youth Participants
  • 11. General Liability Insurance
    • USA Ultimate sanctioned, sponsored and series events receive full coverage under our general liability policy.  USA Ultimate insurance covers ultimate and ultimate-related activities only. Questions about what is covered should be directed to USA Ultimate or the insurance company (not TDs or event medical staff).

  • 12. Concussion Safety & Awareness
    • Education
    • Coaching Requirements
      • Coaches at USA Ultimate events are required to have completed a concussion awareness and safety recognition program (like the CDC program above or other local or state-recommended course). Coaches should not submit records of course completion to USA Ultimate, but should maintain records on-site while coaching.
    • Removal & Return to Play
      • All guidelines identified by the CDC must be strictly followed in the event of a suspected concussion:
        1. Remove athlete from play.
        2. Ensure athlete is evaluated by a health care professional trained in concussion diagnosis and management.
        Do not try to judge the seriousness of the injury yourself.
        3. If a minor, inform athlete's parents or guardians about the known or possible concussion and give them the fact sheet on concussion.
        4. Allow athlete to return to play only with permission from an appropriate health care professional.
    • CDC Parent/Athlete Concussion Information Sheet

  • 13. Hospitalization Policy
    • If, during a USA Ultimate event, an athlete receives care at a hospital, medical clinic, or doctor’s office, or is referred to a hospital/doctor by event medical staff, the athlete is barred from further competition in that event until s/he provides a doctor’s note, on letterhead or prescription pad, to event medical staff stating that the athlete is authorized to return to competition.