To help organisations, coaches and other individuals when conducting netball in hot inclement weather, Netball Victoria provides these guidelines to assist our affiliates mitigate the risks of playing in hot or inclement weather.
During the summer months, Netball Victoria commonly receives requests from affiliates looking for guidance on queries such as:
• Should our training be modified or cancelled?
• At what point do we modify or cancel games?
• When is it safe to play netball or be physically active in the heat?
To help organisations, coaches and other individuals when conducting sport in hot weather, Netball Victoria has produced this revised set of guidelines. These new guidelines are based on the latest research as well as the expertise of Sports Medicine Australia’s (SMA) medical and scientific members. SMA Extreme Heat Policy can be found here.
These guidelines are not binding, however Netball Victoria reminds all parties that they must act responsibly. We encourage a common sense approach and consideration of the comfort and well-being of all individuals including participants, officials and volunteers. There are many factors to be considered when Clubs, Associations and Leagues are contemplating modifying, postponing or cancelling games or training. Affiliates need to be aware of the difficulty of settling a “one size fits all” policy in this area. Instead, we encourage you to undertake appropriate risk management specific to your particular geographical circumstances. If hot weather is predicted, we encourage you to communicate and plan your day in advance accordingly, so you know what to expect. Encourage members to start to hydrate in preparation and inform them that changes may be made (e.g. reduced quarters, extended breaks etc.)
VicSport has developed a suite of new resources to assist sport and recreation organisations to mitigate against the risks of exertional heat illnesses in sport. VicSport has also published supportive resources including fact sheets and posters. These resources are designed for the Victorian sport sector and may be used to inform and create risk plans, event plans and emergency management plans. VicSport – Hot Weather Guidelines for Sport and Active Recreation Informed by evidence and advice from the Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention, the guidelines contain information about:
• Trends in extreme heat
• Heat illness conditions including signs and symptoms
• Risk factors affecting sport and active recreation
• Mitigation strategies
• Advice on communicating modifications to activities
Sports Medicine Australia SMA is the leading source of information for injury and illness in sport and physical activity. They provide advice for sport organisations through training courses, workshops and events, fact sheets and guidelines.
Heat Health Alerts The Department of Health and Human Services heat health alert system notifies local governments, departmental program areas, hospitals, and state-wide or major metropolitan health and community service providers of forecast heat wave conditions that are likely to pose an increased risk to human health. The department has identified temperature thresholds for Victoria above which heat-related illness and mortality increases substantially. Throughout summer, the department monitors the Bureau of Meteorology seven-day forecast maximum and minimum temperatures. When the heat health temperature threshold is reached in a specific weather forecast district, the department issues a heat health alert. Sign up to receive heat health alerts here.
VicEmergency provides updates and warnings for incidents related to fires, floods, storms and other environmental disasters. Sport organisations should be ready to refer to the website or download the Smartphone App so that relevant information can be obtained in the event of environmental emergencies which threaten the health of participants.
Netball Victoria receives requests from affiliates looking for guidance on queries such as:
• Should our training be modified or cancelled?
• At what point do we modify or cancel games?
• When is it safe to play netball?
To assist organisations, coaches and other individuals when conducting sport in such conditions, this set of guidelines has been produced. These guidelines are not binding; however, Netball Victoria reminds all parties that they must act responsibly. We encourage a common-sense approach and consideration of the comfort and well-being of all individuals including participants, officials and volunteers.
There are many factors to be considered when Clubs, Associations and Leagues are contemplating modifying, postponing, or cancelling games or training. Affiliates need to be aware of the difficulty of settling a “one size fits all” policy in this area. Instead, we encourage you to undertake appropriate risk management specific to your geographical circumstances. If lightning is predicted, we encourage you to communicate and plan your day in advance accordingly, so you and your members know what to expect. inform them that changes may be made.
Netball Victoria supports the ‘30/30’ rule which will be enacted for lightning safety and serves as a guide for activity cancellation and subsequent resumption.
30/30 LIGHTNING SAFETY GUIDELINE
Stop play if the time between seeing a lightning flash and hearing thunder is less than 30 seconds. Immediately seek safety under appropriate shelter. Do not resume play until at least 30 minutes has passed since the last thunder was heard.
When should activities be stopped?
The ‘30/30’ rule is not an absolute rule. A storm may move very quickly, or not generate any lightning or thunder until it is very close or topographical or wind conditions may prevent sound from travelling to your position. These conditions are especially common in hilly areas. It is important that match officials observe weather conditions and be alert to the possibility of the above occurring.
▪ If you see lightning
▪ If you hear thunder
▪ If the skies look threatening Where should people go for safe shelter?
There is no place outside that is safe when a thunderstorm is in the area.
Stop the activity immediately and get to a safe place immediately. Substantial buildings with wiring and plumbing provide the greatest amount of protection. Once inside, stay away from windows and doors and anything that conducts electricity such as corded phones, wiring, plumbing, and anything connected to these. Note that small outdoor buildings including dugouts, rain shelters, sheds, etc., are NOT SAFE. In the absence of a substantial building, a hard-topped metal vehicle with the windows closed provides good protection.
When should activities be resumed? Because electrical charges can linger in clouds after a thunderstorm has seemingly passed, experts agree that people should wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunder before resuming outdoor activities.
Who should monitor the weather and make decisions?
Lightning safety plans should specify that someone be designated to monitor the weather for lightning. The lightning monitor should not be the coach, umpire, because these people will be busy and can’t adequately monitor conditions. The lightning monitor must know the plan’s guidelines and be empowered to assure that the guidelines are followed.
What should be done if someone is struck by lightning?
Most victims can survive a lightning strike; however, they need immediate medical attention. Call 000. Victims do not carry an electrical charge. In many cases, the victim’s heart and/or breathing may have stopped. CPR or an AED may be needed to revive them. Continue to monitor the victim until medical help arrives. If possible, move the victim to a safer place inside away from the threat of another lightning strike.
Reference: Bureau of Meteorology, First Aid Pro – Lightning Strikes.
The Australian Institute of Sport has developed a helpful tool that will assist coaches, support staff and athletes to better understand how bushfire smoke can affect air quality and to allow for a more informed decision-making process when determining if it is safe to train or play sport.
The impact of bushfire smoke can vary significantly based on an individual’s current health and previous medical conditions as well as the current air pollution levels, so there is not a one size fits all approach. The guidelines provide recommendations based on the current air quality index (AQI), with suggested modifications to training schedules based on the severity of the air pollution.
For healthy individuals, the AIS recommends that if the AQI reading is above 150, outdoor training should be rescheduled indoors, and exposure minimised as much as possible. Asthmatics should not compete or train outdoors if the AQI is between 100 and 149. The table below provides a suggested risk strategy for both the general population, low-intensity exercise and endurance-based high-intensity exercise.
There are many factors that contribute to readings found on State and Territory websites, air-quality apps and handheld devices. The numbers on the table below are a guide and should not be taken as absolutes. There is a need to use common sense in assessing the environment and utilising other factors such as visibility in making a decision about whether or not exercise is appropriate.
Links to AQI readings for
For more information about the Australian Institute of Sports position statement on smoke pollution and exercise click here.
The following guidelines have been adapted from information provided by the SunSmart website.
Netball is a sport which when played outdoors is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and is an issue that has particular relevance. By adopting a few basic principles, your Association/League/Club can protect players, coaches, umpires and spectators and provide a safe environment for all participants.
Netball uniforms do not particularly provide much coverage, so it is important to ensure clothing that covers as much skin as possible is worn during and in between training/game breaks where possible. Encourage wide-brimmed hats to be worn whenever practical to protect face, neck and ears from the constant UV.
Netball Clubs and Associations should promote, and if possible, provide sunscreen for use. Approximately 20 minutes prior to training or playing in peak UV periods, players and participants should be encouraged to apply sunscreen to exposed body parts and to reapply every two hours. This is of particular importance in situations such as all-day tournaments or outdoor competitions held in the summer months, which are generally of a long duration. It is recommended that a broad-spectrum SPF 30+ (or higher), water soluble sunscreen is used.
All facilities hosting Netball matches should allow for the provision of permanent and portable shade areas. Where possible, maximise natural shade at all times. Encouraging participants to take breaks/hydrate etc. in the shade where possible. Encourage all netball participants (including spectators) to bring their own shade for longer duration tournaments/competitions where natural shade is limited.
Time of Day
Always consider sun protection when scheduling events. The most dangerous part of the day is between 11am and 3pm. Always try to schedule netball matches outside of these hours. Refer to Netball Victoria Hot Weather Guidelines for further information and always promote and prompt sun protection behaviour during events.
Drink plenty of water when playing netball, as your body gets dehydrated quickly when out in the sun. Loss of fluids can exacerbate sun exposure effects and cause serious health problems if left untreated.
Outdoor netball courts can reflect high levels of UV so wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare is very important. All sunglasses in Australia must meet a strict consumer Standard (AS 1067) that stipulates lenses must block out 95% of UV. Sunglasses that block out 100% of UV rays are ideal for better protection.
For further information visit SunSmart.
Thunderstorm asthma can be very serious for people with asthma. The peak time for thunderstorm asthma is mainly spring but can extend to December during the grass pollen season. Local media may announce ‘Thunderstorm Asthma Alerts’ on days when there is a high risk. Associations may consider communicating to their participants when there is a forecast for Thunderstorm Asthma in the area and individuals should seek medical advice as required.
More Information can be found:
Thunderstorm Asthma Forecasts for Victoria regions can be found at Vic Emergency.
Vic Emergency also provide guidelines on Preparing for Thunderstorm Asthma.
Asthma Australia here.
The health and safety of members is a primary concern to Netball Victoria. Every Club, Association and League within Victoria has a responsibility to provide a safe environment for players, coaches, umpires and spectators, not only to reduce the potential of injury but also to meet legal duties of care. Clubs must take responsibility to develop guidelines for cancelling netball during wet weather.
Netball is played all year round and has traditionally been a winter sport. This means that on more than one occasion during the year an Association/League will be faced with making a decision to cancel or continue to play matches during wet weather. It is obviously preferable that games are not cancelled however, if the courts become dangerous it is in the best interest of all to cancel games as safety of members is paramount.
Who will be respondible for making the decision?
The committee of management is responsible for making decisions in relation to wet weather. This may be to postpone the game, move to another court/venue or cancel the match. The decision should be based on participant safety, determining whether the wet weather increases the risk of injury beyond an acceptable level. It is advisable to consult the officiating umpires when making this decision.
In some circumstances where matches are played at different venues (eg. Football Netball Leagues) and there may not be a committee member present, each club should have a designated representative to make this decision.
When should a game be cancelled?
Management Committee or Supervisers should assess the court and its surrounds and reviewed in light of changes in the weather conditions. As each court may vary in surface condition, position, drainage etc. courts should be audited individually, and decisions made accordingly.
The age and skill level of players should also be considered. Children are susceptible to illness in cold climates. Children also have a less developed perception of when they are cold and therefore may continue to exercise when they should actually stop. Coaches should pay particular attention to these factors when children are subjected to wet conditions, as water will enhance the loss of body heat.
How will the decision be communicated to teams or team management?
The Association/League/Club should develop procedures to notify participants of cancellations.
Option 1: All teams required to report to the courts.
Option 2: Association to make a decision by a designated time and notify appointed team representative who passes the message on to their team.
Can players and umpires wear matching tracksuit pants in extremely cold weather?
An Association/League can add a clause to their By-Laws that allows the competition convenor to permit the wearing of tracksuit pants in extreme circumstances.
What happens if a match is cancelled after the match has started?
Option 1: Teams are awarded two points each.
Option 2: If the match is cancelled after halftime, the current score stands. If cancelled prior to halftime, teams are awarded two points each.