Medical Coverage at Races
Early last season there was some discussion about medical support at races after a crash at Merco RR. The rider in question was seriously injured and had to wait (out on the road) a very long time for aid and transport to the emergency room. As I recall, his injuries were serious, could easily have been worse, and if they were, the delay could have made a bad situation worse. I have not seen any discussion or proposals about changes since then, even though the discussion generated a lot of responses and concern. Something I pointed out a long time ago (maybe to Casey?) has not gone away – the California Supreme Court has ruled that gross negligence is not covered by a waiver http://www.insurancejournal.com/magazines/mag-currents/2007/08/06/82720.htm. The specific ruling applies to government entities, and though it could be a challenge, applying that to a promoter doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch - that is what some lawyers specialize in.
Today in San Francisco news comes that a half marathoner died and may not have gotten sufficient medical care soon enough. It is too soon to tell if anyone will be found at fault but it reminds me once again that we (NCNCA and promoters in NCNCA) generally speaking, don’t have our s*** together in this area (just my opinion). In some instances we seem to (I was impressed with Turlock RR identifying medical stations along its route) but in general, if someone gets jacked up, they are S.O.L.
Crashes happen and it is a risky sport, we all get that. My concern is four-fold:
1. As a recent dad I’d like to not check out too soon (My wife also says she likes having me around)
2. All it takes is a good lawyer to end an otherwise good race we all love (and a promoter’s business, and possibly their personal assets)
3. If it goes south once, insurance will go north and not by a small amount I would bet
4. If any NCNCA promoter got hit by a big-time lawsuit, we would lose 5-25 races on the calendar.
I don’t want to jump to solutions, but an extra $1 (or whatever) per rider to ensure medical coverage and therefore possibly the long-term continuation of any race seems worth it.
I realize many may not be concerned with this, some may not agree, but I would hope that NCNCA and promoters are connecting the dots on some of this news.
Ultimately, as the season starts, proper/sufficient medical coverage would be prudent at races. As a promoter, it may be in your best interest to prevent customers from becoming plaintiffs and for racers, our ample racing calendar from shrinking. I’m not trying to call out promoters in a bad way but I have been in the middle of nowhere AND big cities, seen crashes, and seen a box of band aids presented as the only remedy to some poor guy at the start/finish tent.
I appreciate that there may be sufficient insurance coverage as is, but I would hate to lose a friend because it was cost prohibitive to add an extra ambulance to Merco or any other race. We all appreciate everything all our promoters do. we are lucky to have them here in the NCNCA district, but I can't help but feel we have been dodging a bullet and it will catch up to us.