Assessment of Lightning Safety Knowledge Among Youth Sport Coaches

Submitted by Grace C. Sims, MSc, ATC*(1), Amanda J. Sinclair Elder, EdD, ATC (1) Craig Elder, PhD, ATC, CSCS, CSPS (1), Margaret Harris, PhD (1)

(1) University of Colorado Colorado Springs

*Corresponding Author-Grace Sims, MSc, ATC, 5810 McArthur Ranch Road
Highlands Ranch, CO 80124, Phone: 303-387-3102, Email:

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the lightning safety knowledge among recreational youth sport coaches around the Colorado Front Range metro areas and examine the relationship between knowledge and safe practices. Additional analyses evaluated lightning knowledge score, correct behavior score, and composite score with years lived in Colorado and years coaching.

Methods: One-hundred and eleven youth sport coaches in Colorado from two youth sport organizations completed an online survey consisting of 25 questions about lightning safety and behavior, including four scenarios.

Results: The results of the study found that lightning knowledge and behavior was lacking in comparison to the guidelines set forth by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and National Weather Service. Participants scored poorly on lightning facts related to storm recognition. The majority of participants displayed familiarity with the “flash-to-bang” method, but were less familiar with the “30-30 rule.” Respondents’ mean overall score on the lightning survey was 58%, and a significant relationship between total knowledge score and total behavior score (p less than 0.01) was found.

Conclusion: The results indicate there is a lack of coach knowledge for understanding how to provide safe environments during severe weather for youth sport participants in this area of Colorado. Further exploration of lightning safety knowledge should be conducted in other lightning prone regions.