Safe Athletic Directors

The Information Athletic Directors Cannot Afford to Ignore

The Disinfecting Problem, Liability, and Possible Solution

By: Kelsey Irwin

The coronavirus pandemic has brought along an unprecedented set of challenges that may permanently alter life in college athletics. While athletic departments want to return to their version of ‘normal’ as soon as possible, they must place an enormous priority on cleaning practices. Much of the regulation regarding social distancing guidelines and availability of testing boil down to state and local governments. Disinfecting large facilities and airspace has been an age-old challenge.  Regardless, athletic departments can control the way they clean their facilities and prepare for the welcoming of athletes and staff back to campus. While well-intended, disinfecting products and methods present the opportunity of safety and risk. Without addressing this one problem, in particular, athletic departments will be unable to keep their athletes, employees, and fans safe. With the now more likely return of athletes, employees, and fans to campus, the question remains, how to accomplish all of this safely?

Medical experts do not know when a vaccine will become available, however, few expect one in 2020. Without a vaccine, large-scale testing and disinfecting methods become paramount. As a result, personal, commercial, and institutional cleaning practices emerge at the forefront of prevention measures. CDC’s recommendations include cleaning surfaces with soap prior to disinfecting and frequently disinfecting ‘high-touch’ surfaces. In a time where household cleaning products are practically modern-day gold and the majority of the population does not leave their home without a mask, how can athletic facilities possibly be cleaned in a safe and effective way?

The majority of disinfectants include chemicals such as isopropyl alcohol, bleach, chlorine, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and hypochlorus acid. All of these chemicals can be harmful to humans via inhalation or contact with skin. A 8-year Harvard study concluded that the use of bleach once per week increased the risk of various lung diseases such as COPD and asthma by 32%. How much harm are we putting athletes in if athletic programs plan to disinfect after every workout?   

Athletic environments are a natural incubator for the spread of any illness. That’s why viral infections wipe out entire rosters in years past. Athletes share locker-rooms, meeting rooms, training rooms, weight rooms, water bottles, and much more. The number of people involved in some sports serves to amplify the potential risk of infection. Typical college football programs, for example, involve over 120 players and  70-plus staff members.

Given those numbers, it would be difficult to know for certain that the threat of exposure to coronavirus has been eliminated. Would implementing hand-washing stations and social distancing guidelines be enough? Probably not. If the virus does subside in time for the fall semester, medical experts have warned of a second wave arriving in late-Fall. To make matters worse, a potential second-wave of coronavirus would coincide with the traditional flu season. Those same questions regarding sanitary practices, budget issues, and more would then shift to Winter and Spring sports. 

Tackling this problem requires a multifaceted approach. Unfortunately, cleaning surfaces alone does not and will not eliminate all the risks of contracting the virus as this global pandemic is airborne. 

Did you know that in order for disinfectants to be used properly, they cannot be wiped off immediately? Yes, that means every time you sprayed a product onto your kitchen counter to wipe it off seconds later was a waste. The bacteria and pathogens you intended to kill did not go anywhere. In order for disinfectants to be used effectively, they must be sprayed on and left for a minimum of six minutes prior to being wiped off. In fact, some cleaners require at least fifteen minutes prior to being wiped. Depending on the type of surface as well as the humidity, some products will require more or less time prior to being wiped off in order to work. Are your employees waiting for the necessary time before wiping the products off? Do you know 100% that these protocols are being followed? To make things more complicated, some disinfectant products that do not get wiped off leave a harmful residue that can cause chemical burns on human skin. Yes, that means deciding to spray the product and leaving it will fulfill the intended use, but it will put anyone who touches it as the risk of a dangerous chemical burn. Can you ensure that your employees are wiping off every surface that a disinfectant is sprayed – after the necessary time? 

While some athletic departments may decide to hire third-party janitorial services, issues still arise. The cost alone of these services is very expensive. However, to some, spending more money to guarantee cleanliness is worth the cost. But, regardless of who is responsible for cleaning, the products used will still take extensive time. Can parts of athletic facilities be closed down for a couple of hours between practices, meetings, and lifts to ensure cleanliness for the next team to use? From a logistical standpoint, it may be difficult to add multiple hour-long cleaning blocks into an already crowded schedule. Often times, athletic teams are using spaces right after one another.

How can athletic facilities mitigate risks of an airborne pathogen? The common chemicals – isopropyl alcohol, bleach, chlorine, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, and hypochlorus acid – cannot be safely diffused into the air due to the risk of inhalation exposure. 

One product, ATS's TwinOxide, attempts to check these boxes by killing pathogens and bacteria both in the air and on hard surfaces. The product can be fogged or used into a diffuser on a regular basis. TwinOxide doesn’t leave a residue so it doesn’t need to be wiped off. Avoiding the labor necessary to wipe down surfaces after application can reduce an hour-long cleaning process down to minutes.  In addition, the product is non-toxic, safe to handle, and has been EPA approved for direct contact on food and fresh items. TwinOxide is registered with the EPA as a disinfectant, sanitizer, and sterilizer. This spray-on disinfectant can even be facility-circulated to sterilize all surfaces, including the air. 

A return to any sense of normal will be aided by the return of sports. The appeal of sports is undeniable particularly when athletes, staff, and fans can have confidence that the host facility is taking all measures to safely disinfect. New products, such as TwinOxide, used in conjunction with traditional disinfectants and the implementation of hand-washing stations can help to make this a reality.

Learn More on TwinOxide

Learn More About Safe Cleaning Options

Read more...

Discover traits to find your career

Simon Saneck has made the “Start with Why” concept hip and trendy, So I’ll start there.

When I was a college athlete I graduated knowing little about the world and all its career possibilities. The dominant visionary traits in me could picture my future of living in the penthouse apartment yet I was blind to the career that would manifest the desired end state. 

What happens when we athletes with grit find career paths that align with their dominant traits?  Will we create leaders to overcome global challenges?

The time to focus on the production of leadership is now.

The Athlete Book experience starts with an experience of discovering personality traits and exploring how they may relate to possible careers.  A happy life is a pursuit to align passion, dominant traits, with career.  Are you in alignment?

Athlete Name

Visit Full Athlete Profile

Read more...

Developing the next Generation of Leaders

By: Kelsey Irwin

As athletic departments are scrambling to move their services online, The Athlete Book jumps ahead by introducing an unprecedented competition offering student-athletes the opportunity to grow while collectively competing against each another. The competition is organized into eight categories including mental health, social branding, alumni engagement, diversity & inclusion, professional development, voter awareness, fundraising, and community outreach. Within each category, athletes can receive points for completing contest elements. In addition, The Athlete Book is looking for companies and brands to sponsor elements of the competition as a strategic recruiting effort.

The top-three teams at the completion of the competition will receive a donation towards their athletic department or to the charity of their choice. Founder and former student-athlete, Ryan Drummond, developed The Athlete Book in an effort to help uncover an athlete’s true identity and connect them to the right employers after graduation. He believes that “athletes possess the characteristics needed in great leaders and it is crucial that we help these individuals become more aware of who they are and what they can achieve”. With our country needing leaders now more than ever, The Athlete Books seeks to develop the next successful generation. In hopes of accomplishing this goal, the competition helps guide student-athletes in the right direction.

While all athletes are welcome to participate in the competition, the Athlete Book is targeting the Student-Athlete Advisory Committees (SAAC) to sign up their teams. Drummond believes that targeting these groups for the competition is important because “The SAAC represents a mentally disciplined sub-group of already highly disciplined individuals. These individuals volunteer their time to look out for the best interests of the entire student-athlete population”. Every participating NCAA institution has a SAAC committee to ensure that athletes have a voice within the athletic department. Athletic departments expressly state that the overall development of every student-athlete on their campus is a priority. The SAAC Competition will complement the athletic department's objectives in a virtual capacity.  Drummond explains,  "Athletes will emerge  as our next leaders if given the right incentive to explore and engage."

Each of the eight themes provides opportunities for student-athletes to earn points from over fifty activities such as Tik Tok competitions, athlete mentorship videos, publishing articles, and completing career development experiences. In addition, student-athletes will have the opportunity to learn more about voter issues and participate in community outreach. With so many options, The Athlete Book hopes to attract strong interest for every eligible athlete.

As a learning management platform, The Athlete Book also provides educational content for the competition. Through some of the activities offered, the competition aims to play on athletes’ competitive nature and provide incentives to get in front of the best teachers. The Athlete Book team is actively collaborating with course creators, brands, and companies to take part in having their own sponsored element of the contest.

Finmango a 501(c)(3), Financial Literacy Company is the first of hopefully many more partners to join the contest. Founder Scott Glasgow said, "If we're going to create a world where everyone has an opportunity. Then we are going to have to do it together. We're excited to join hands with The Athlete Book in bringing further impact to college athletes. "

The student-athlete demographic is filled with hard-working, relentless, and tenacious individuals who, given the right tools, can make a massive impact at any organization. After all, Drummond believes, “in life, if you are not teaching the next generation and alerting them of common pitfalls so they can go further than you, then you are failing”. With that in mind, Drummond is actively focused on forming partnerships with third-parties to strengthen the collegiate athlete population. If you or someone you know has a message to share, contact The Athlete Book team here.

Often times, collegiate athletes graduate with desirable characteristics that may be lost in the hiring process. By knowing this, The Athlete Book helps connect athletes to companies that value the skills and experiences that come along with being a student-athlete. In addition, the company helps these athletes communicate their skills in an effective way through gaming career development. By forming relationships with companies such as Amazon, JP Morgan, Crunch Fitness, and Under Armor, The Athlete Book is able to make effective connections between employers and student-athletes. Drummond founded the company with the understanding that student-athletes simply do not have the time to seek internships and connections that many traditional college students are able to build. The Athlete Book team hopes that the SAAC competition can provide an avenue for participating teams to raise funds for their schools while also adding experience to their resume. Click here to join.

Learn More

Visit the SAAC Contest

Read more...