National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Lightning Safety for Athletics and Recreation


To present recommendations for the education, prevention, and management of lightning injuries for those involved in athletics or recreation.


Lightning is the most common severe-storm activity encountered annually in the United States. The majority of lightning injuries can be prevented through an aggressive educational campaign, vacating outdoor activities before the lightning threat, and an understanding of the attributes of a safe place from the hazard.


This position statement is focused on supplying information specific to lightning safety and prevention and treatment of lightning injury and providing lightning-safety recommendations for the certified athletic trainer and those who are involved in athletics and recreation.


  • Athletic trainers, umpires, officials, referees, coaches, teachers, and parents can make a difference in reducing the number of lightning casualties if they follow these guidelines:
  1. Formalize and implement a lightning-safety policy or EAP specific to lightning safety before the season starts and before lightning threatens that includes the following:
    1. established and recognized chain of command to instigate suspension of outdoor events or evacuation of the facility,
    2. A reliable means of monitoring the weather, including identification of a specific weather watcher,
    3. A list of previously identified, venue-specific safe structures, and
    4. Criteria for suspension of activity, evacuation of the facility, and issuing the all-clear signals.
  2. Use lightning-safety slogans to educate, including how to apply them to suspend activities. Leaders should be conservative and suspend activities at the first sign of lightning or thunder.
  3. Practice and follow the published lightning-safety guidelines and strategies.
  4. Maintain CPR and first-aid certifications and have AEDs and other first-aid equipment readily available


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