The top priority for any event in the CrossFit community needs to be competition safety. No matter what your goals for your competition are, having someone get hurt is the absolutely last thing anyone wants to deal with. The best defense here is offense: the more prepared you are for the worst-case scenario, the safer your event will be.
Here are 5 considerations to maximize your competition safety:
1. Emergency medical services
Hosting a competition is different than your day-to-day classes and training at your box. In some sense, you have to look at the competition itself as a separate business entirely. As such, there are different standards for a competition. While your emergency plan for your box is to call 911 in the event of a serious situation, the additional variables of a competition necessitate more direct access to critical care. Yes, this can be a very expensive factor in your budget and yes, it’s completely necessary. There’s no price you wouldn’t pay if it means saving a life.
2. First aid
For non-emergency situations, you will need to have first aid supplies for common injuries like ripped hands and banged-up shins. Depending on the laws in your area, you may only be able to provide your athletes access to these supplies and will not be allowed to “administer” care. Make sure to include other items like water and sunscreen that can be helpful for athletes, spectators, and volunteers. If possible, you can staff a medical professional at your first aid area who can determine if more serious medical care should be given and then refer out.
Think about that one guy in your box who is outrageously hyper-competitive with absolutely terrible form who doesn’t ever listen to his coaches. Now imagine 100 of those guys and they’re all at your competition. When you’re programming your events, plan to manage this possibility. Use your best judgement when it comes to choosing the movements and loads for the workouts, knowing that certain movements (overhead lifts, heavy pulls from the ground, etc.) are higher risk for athletes with poor mobility and body control.
4. Logistical design
Not only is stubborn-competitive-sloppy guy a danger to himself, but he can be a danger to other people as well. You need to plan out a buffer zone around athletes to ensure they and their equipment don’t interfere with the next lane over. Spectators need to maintain a safe distance as well. It’s a good idea to have a designated volunteer whose sole job is to make sure that no one is in harm’s way.
Crowds can be unpredictable. You need to be able to manage traffic flow at your competition. If you are inside, there should be clear paths and signs towards the emergency exits. For outdoor events, your biggest concern is traffic where you don’t want it. Invest in flags, rope, or barricades and make it clear to your crowd with large signs where they are and are not permitted to be.