The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

What’s the impact of Hamilton’s coming mega-sports complex ? Area officials will take a trip to find out !

Township Administrator Bob Bass and Trustee Tom Willsey are two of 30 local government and business people making the eight-hour trek to Manheim, Pennsylvania on Monday to experience the impact the huge development could have here.

“The Chamber of Commerce has done a good job of selling the fact that this could have tremendous regional impact on the economy, based on the fact that the one in Pennsylvania does,” Bass said. “As a result of that we want to go see what it is and how it may or may not effect Ross Twp. in the future.”

According to an economic analysis performed by Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics Company, Spooky Nook’s Pennsylvania complex had $15.5 million in revenues last year, with another $5 million at the Warehouse Hotel within the sports complex. The company last year had about 150 full-time employees and as many as 450 part-time seasonal workers. More than 1.1 million people (470,000 from outside the immediate area) visited the Pennsylvania site in 2017.

Sponsored by the Greater Hamilton Chamber, the trip travelers include officials from Ross, Hamilton, Miami University Hamilton and a host of local businesses.

Dan Bates, chamber CEO and president, said this will be his fourth trip to the original Spooky Nook. He said they invited Ross along on this trip because “they have some big economic development plans in their future that they’re working on” and they want to help further those goals.

“We’ve really been working with our business community and trying to get the businesses to understand the potential impact of Spooky Nook when it comes,” Bates said. “We’re looking at all the arterial roads that will be coming to Spooky Nook and certainly that impacts Ross.”

Bass said the township is looking at both the positives and negatives such a huge development might bring and trying to prepare as much as possible.

Living next door to a major city had a downside a couple of years ago after a drive-by shooting happened there and the suspects tried to escape through the township. Ross Twp. police Capt. Jack Tremain and officer Larry Johns chased — climbing steep hills and crashing through vegetation — the suspects and eventually helped apprehend them.

Bass said officials are examining all aspects of the giant new neighbor.

“I can surmise we are going to get more traffic volume through town,” Bass said. “Whether that parlays into more businesses or not I don’t know. That’s part of what we want to go go out and see, how it actually has effected that area… We’re looking at it from the total impact side of it.”

No Butler County officials were on the guest list for Pennsylvania trip, despite the fact the commissioners have pledged $2.5 million towards road infrastructure for the project. Commissioner Don Dixon said they have been asked on junkets to the Spooky Nook site before, but they already know what they need to about the project.

“Nothing is all positive, there’s always some negative effect,” Dixon said. “But by far when you get an activity like that or a user like that the benefits outweigh the negatives… You can plan what you want to plan but in reality, until you open the door and turn the lights on, you can build it and see if they’ll come, that’s the deal.”

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It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
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* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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Recover Your Fields !

We have the keys to dealing with flooding to

Recover Your Fields.

Every year there are many major challenges that confront the sports field manager. Late winter snow storms, frost depths, Bombogenesis Nor’easters, severe storms and tornadoes, heavy rains, and flooding. None of these weather events is more damaging and debilitating than flooding on a sports field. We bring you the 9 keys for recovering your fields after flooding…
Continue to the 9 Keys

Two fantastic deals continue on these must-haves…

Tarp Month Continues…
SAVE 10% thru March.
Our FieldShield mound cover or home plate tarps are a critical part of your field maintenance plan.
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For a limited time save on this between-innings master, the Pro Rigid Steel Mat Drag. On sale thru Friday, Mar. 22 ONLY.
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It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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www.sadlersports.com/soda

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

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Become more efficient chalking foul lines !

This featured Groundskeeper U lesson will show you

How to avoid bridging.

“Bridging” is a common problem. When chalk settles in the hopper, it compacts and restricts the flow of chalk, literally “bridging” across the agitator at the bottom of the hopper. We have some tips for avoiding bridging. See our lesson at Groundskeeper University, “Chalking & Painting Foul Lines”…
Continue Reading
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Limited-time offers on must-have products!
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Replacing That Old Chain-Link Fence…

FEATURED PROJECT: Their existing chain-link fence had reached the end of its useful life and they knew it was time for an upgrade. A private school in Baton Rouge, the Episcopal School decided to include a new backstop in their plans to renovate their baseball and softball fields. Learn how Beacon helped bring a better, safer experience to their spectators…
View Featured Tie-Back Netting Project
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It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

  • ( Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

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www.sadlersports.com/soda

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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Crews race to rebuild prized sports complex in Loretto, TN !

LORETTO, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Loretto Sports Complex was considered one of the nicest sporting facilities in the state, but after a tornado touched down in November 2018, it was destroyed. 

“We lost our wall, our backstop, we lost the bleachers, the dugout,” Said Loretto Baseball Coach, Gary Lamm.  

There wasn’t much that didn’t have damage or need some kind of repairs.  

“It was heart breaking,” said Lamm, who was unsure his baseball team would be able to play on the field this season. 

The tornado struck quick and only lasted a few moments, but the destruction would cause more than $400,000 in damage and take months to clean up. 

“We spent a lot of time on the computer, on the phone, sitting and talking and trying to figure out how we were going to put this all together,” said Loretto Parks and Recreation Director, Mitch Webb. 

A devoted coach, city administrators and the community have all played a part in getting things cleaned up. The complex is still closed and construction is underway, but the hope is to have Gary Lamm field open for at least a few games this season. 

“I know our seniors would love to be able to play their senior season on this field here and that is what they keep asking,” said Lamm “I say we are doing our best we can and that is all we can do.”

The city hopes to add a few additional features to the sports complex once the original structures have been repaired or rebuilt. 

Loretto’s baseball season begins Wednesday when they take on Lawrence County. 

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It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

1-800-622-7370

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www.sadlersports.com/soda

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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Twins slashing prices on several traditional concession items at 2 Target Field stands !

The team said it wants to make going to the game

more affordable for families. 

The Minnesota Twins are sharply cutting prices on some traditional concession items at two locations in Target Field, the team announced Wednesday.

The team said it is discounting prices on hot dogs, nachos, soft pretzels, peanuts, popcorn, soft drinks and specific beers in hopes of making the expense of coming to a game more affordable for families.

“The Twins are excited about partnering with Delaware North Sportservice to bring family-friendly concessions pricing to Target Field,” team president and CEO Dave St. Peter said in a statement announcing the reductions. “The affordability of the Target Field experience remains paramount to our efforts to attract kids and families to the ballpark.”

The lower-priced items will be at the stadium’s two “State Fair” stands: Section 133, in right-field lower level, and Section 327, in the left-field corner of the upper level.

Some of the discounted items do not have an exact apples to apples — or peanut to peanut — comparison for the same food and drink sold elsewhere in the stadium, and regular prices on some of these items have been nudged up a bit from 2018.

Here are the reduced price offerings, with this year’s prices elsewhere in the stadium for comparable items in parentheses:

• Schweigert regular-size hot dog: $4 ($5)

• Slightly smaller nachos: $4 ($7)

• 2 soft pretzel sticks, no cheese: $4 (Large soft pretzel, with cheese $7)

• Peanuts: $3 ($6)

• Popcorn: $3 ($6)

• 16-ounce Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew or Sierra Mist: $2 (24 ounces, $6.50)

• 12-ounce Budweiser or Bud Light: $5 (20 ounces, $9)

The concessions stands will also offer a more convenient self-checkout process, with fans being able to make their purchases using touch-screen kiosks.

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It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

1-800-622-7370

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www.sadlersports.com/soda

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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BEACON Athletics Weekly Updates / And Deals ! (March ’19)

Beacon tested,

Groundskeeper Approved.

We’re constantly working with our products on the field. One of the main contributors to our product development success over the past couple decades has been our association with West Madison Little League in Madison, Wisconsin. Learn how this relationship has been a win-win for everyone involved… including you.
Continue Reading

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FEATURED VIDEO
Properly groom your turf edge
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O P E N   B O X   S P E C I A L

Case of ‘Sky Blue’ Aerosol Paint
Reg. $62 — NOW ONLY $45  SAVE $17


Need blue paint? Save with this returned case of Sky Blue paint. Case of twelve 12 oz cans. Brand-new condition.
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It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

1-800-622-7370

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www.sadlersports.com/soda

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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Soft Touch Bases 2019 !

Athletes perform better if they feel safe.

Baseball season is underway and the best way to ensure a long and injury-free athletic career is to play it safe. That’s the idea behind our brand. We’ve designed our product so that regardless of model every one of our bases is considered the softest, most durable, and safest option in the industry.

Preventing serious injuries and staying in the game makes the investment worth it. We have a base for every playing surface, check them out below!

Start Shopping

Bases for Turf

For use on synthetic or turf playing fields, our unique design requires no mounting system and sits securely on the synthetic turf. Easy to install, Soft Touch® for Turf can remain in-ground year round or set up for game-time.

Shop Bases for Turf »

Convertible Bases

Already have a mounting system in place? No problem! Soft Touch Convertible bases are created specifically for you. This system allows you to use our state-of-the-art bases with an existing 1” stake or a 1 ½” sleeve mounting system.​

Shop Convertible Bases »

Premium Bases

With a 7” box mounting system this flexible plastic design provides the ultimate in safety and can remain in-ground for a full season of play. These bases are designed to break away under pressure and force for the ultimate safe slide.

Shop Premium Bases »

Indoor Bases

Practice all year round with Soft Touch Indoor bases! The revolutionary suction cup mounting system applies to any smooth practice surface, providing Soft Touch quality and safety without the hassle of seasonal weather.​

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Replacement Parts

All of our parts were designed to be used with the base collection they’re sold with to enhance the safety of that specific collection.

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Spike Down Bases

No mounting system? Not a problem! Soft Touch Spike Down bases are specifically created for teams, leagues, and facilities that do not have a mounting system in place.

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Enjoy FREE SHIPPING on every order!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

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Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

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BEACON Athletics Weekly Updates / And Deals ! (Feb.’19)

This is your guide for February, 2019

Selecting the Right Rake.

Rakes of all shapes and sizes are vital tool for groundskeepers. Some can be fairly specialized, while others can be used for a wide variety of operations. How do you know if you have the right mix for what you need to do? Beacon’s Paul Zwaska breaks down the various rakes and what they’re best used for in this Field Rake Usage Guide.
View Field Rake Usage Guide
Finish Grooming Repaired Areas
Visit Groundkeeper U
for tips on finishing those high wear areas.
VIEW LESSON
FEATURED VIDEO
You want to do it the right way
. These are some tips for nail dragging…
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WE HAVE YOUR BASES
Whatever your level of play or your budget, we have what you need.
Bases for high school, college, pros, as well as Rule 1.06 compliant release bases for little leagues. We have them all.
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O P E N   B O X   S P E C I A L

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View Open Box Product

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .SODA Logo “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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BEACON Athletics Weekly Updates / And Deals ! (Feb.’19)

Raise the stature of your facility and community pride with

Personalization.

It’s more affordable than you think. And, it’s the little things that make the difference. Team logos and team colors improve the perception of your facility, add to community spirit and make your ballfields uniquely yours. Sponsorship can help you secure additional resources to upgrade your facility. Check out the various facility personalization products….
View Facility Personalization Products
Beacon Cocoa Mat Drag
Beacon Cocoa Mat Drag
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Cost effective and just plain smart. The Beacon Backstop Wall System is easy to install, durable and attractive. Bring this unique woodless wall padding and backstop netting to your facility.
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Team Branding Products
O P E N   B O X    S P E C I A L

Custom Pole Padding
Reg. $260 — NOW ONLY $150  SAVE $110!


Is your team color yellow? We have a great deal for you. This 6ft high pole padding attaches with grommets (rather than Velcro), and is 2″ padding with an OD of 8″. Very limited quantities. Brand-new condition.
View Open Box Product

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .SODA Logo “Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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Football’s biggest threat is something you’ve never thought about !


From the NFL to rec leagues, football is facing a stark, new threat: an evaporating insurance market that is fundamentally altering the economics of the sport, squeezing and even killing off programs faced with higher costs and a scarcity of available coverage, an Outside the Lines investigation has found.

The NFL no longer has general liability insurance covering head trauma, according to multiple sources; just one carrier is willing to provide workers‘ compensation coverage for NFL teams. Before concussion litigation roiled the NFL beginning in 2011, at least a dozen carriers occupied the insurance market for pro football, according to industry experts.

The insurance choices for football helmet manufacturers are equally slim; one helmet company executive said he was aware of only one. Pop Warner Little Scholars, which oversees 225,000 youth players, was forced to switch insurers after its longtime carrier, a subsidiary of the insurance giant AIG, refused to provide coverage without an exclusion for any neurological injury.

“People say football will never go away, but if we can‘t get insurance, it will,” Jon Butler, Pop Warner‘s executive director, lamented to colleagues after discovering that just one carrier was willing to cover the organization for head trauma, according to a person who was present.

Dr. Julian Bailes, Pop Warner‘s medical director and a member of the NFL‘s Head, Neck and Spine Committee, told Outside the Lines “insurance coverage is arguably the biggest threat to the sport.”

With youth participation rates continuing to fall, the insurance crisis adds another layer of uncertainty to the future of America‘s No. 1 sport. Insurance companies, which earn billions of dollars each year by taking on risk, are increasingly reluctant to bet on football and other sports associated with traumatic brain injuries. Some insurance industry executives compare the issue to asbestos, an occupational hazard that has cost insurers at least $100 billion. Traumatic brain injury “is an emerging latent exposure the likes of which the insurance industry has not seen in decades,” Joe Cellura, president of North American casualty at Allied World, wrote in a blog post last year for the website Risk & Insurance. Cellura declined to comment for this story.

“Basically, the world has left the marketplace,” Alex Fairly, CEO of the Fairly Group, an Amarillo, Texas-based risk management firm whose clients include the NFL and Major League Baseball, told Outside the Lines. “If you‘re football, hockey or soccer, the insurance business doesn‘t want you.”

During the November convention of the Casualty Actuarial Society in Las Vegas, William Primps, an insurance lawyer and former Yale running back, told hundreds of actuaries, “Overall, I think that there is a real threat to the viability of sports.”

Outside the Lines interviewed insurance carriers and brokers, school administrators, lawyers, consultants, team and league officials, coaches and players and reviewed thousands of pages of court documents and insurance contracts for this story. The details shed light on an arcane but essential corner of the sports world reeling from a crisis that began in the NFL and continues to spin out in unexpected ways. The effects are being felt most acutely across football, but insurers increasingly view all sports associated with head trauma with caution, according to industry experts.

Organized sports, like most endeavors involving risk, can‘t exist without insurance. How deeply the crisis ultimately will be felt is a question that is being debated in trade publications and industry reports, at insurance conferences and among brokers who service the sports world. Scott Lunsford, a senior vice president with K&K Insurance, which finds coverage for amateur sports, acknowledged that several prominent carriers no longer cover head trauma but said numerous options remain available, though sometimes with restrictions that limit insurers‘ exposure.

“It‘s part of our business now, brain injury and concussions, and we‘ve adjusted,” Lunsford said.

“IF YOU‘RE FOOTBALL, HOCKEY OR SOCCER THE INSURANCE BUSINESS DOESN‘T WANT YOU.” ALEX FAIRLY, CEO OF THE FAIRLY GROUP

Butler said he believes carriers are “starting to get a handle on it, just as they have with other risk management situations.” In an effort to ease insurers‘ fears, Pop Warner‘s law firm has taken the unusual step of staging seminars in which some panelists raised doubts about the connection between football and neurodegenerative disease.

Still, insurance coverage is already having a material effect on programs throughout the country.

Last spring, the Maricopa County Community Colleges in Arizona, citing costs and potential liability, announced that they were eliminating football at four schools, including a three-time junior college national champion. A task force concluded that the teams, consisting of 358 players, accounted for nearly one-third of all insurance costs for the district‘s 200,000 students.

In Bakersfield, California, the North of the River Recreation and Park District terminated its tackle football program at the end of this season, citing plummeting participation and rising insurance costs.

Another recreation department, in Hawkins County, Tennessee, decided to keep tackle football this year, even though its longtime insurer refused to cover the sport. The department found a new carrier under a policy that drove up overall insurance costs 27 percent to more than $13,000. The department‘s director, Tim Wilson, citing falling participation and rising costs, predicted that youth football will disappear within a decade. “We have insurance now, but who knows for how long?” he said.

In the years before football‘s concussion crisis, dozens of insurers — including household names such as Fireman‘s Fund, The Hartford and Travelers — insured the NFL without restrictions for traumatic brain injury. Many of those companies are now embroiled in a six-year lawsuit with the NFL in New York Supreme Court over who will pay legal fees and claims associated with the 2013 settlement of a class-action lawsuit that is expected to cost more than $1 billion. The market for amateur sports was even larger, according to industry experts, with insurers competing to provide a range of coverages for youth, high schools and colleges.

Insurers worry that concern over traumatic brain injury, like in the case of asbestos, will play out for decades, with carriers potentially on the hook for billions of dollars in legal and medical costs.

For this story, Outside the Lines hired legal researchers to document the growing universe of concussion litigation — the primary reason behind the insurance industry‘s fears. Since 2005, when the first case of brain disease was reported in a former NFL player, thousands of concussion-related lawsuits have been filed in the United States, including class-action suits against the NFL, the NHL and the NCAA. Since the NFL settlement, concussion-related lawsuits involving at least 18 sports and activities have been filed in at least 29 states, Outside the Lines‘ research shows. They target not only professional sports but also youth leagues, school districts, athletic associations, equipment manufacturers, medical providers, coaches and athletic trainers.

The result is potentially catastrophic for organizations such as rec departments, youth leagues and school districts, as insurers seek to transfer risk back to those entities, which can least afford a major financial blow. In 2016, Pop Warner, which is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a nonprofit organization, settled a lawsuit with the family of a former player who died of suicide and was found to have had CTE. In Washington state, the family of a high school football player who suffered a catastrophic brain injury won a $5 million settlement after arguing that coaches violated the Lystedt Law, which prescribes protocols for handling head injuries. The law has been replicated in all 50 states.

Richard Adler, a Seattle attorney who specializes in brain injuries and wrote the Lystedt Law, said insurers “should use their considerable power, influence and resources to promote player safety. Blaming the threat of litigation as a reason to withdraw from providing insurance to youth sports is shortsighted and does little to advance the need to prevent preventable brain injuries in youth sports.”

Fred Langer, a personal injury lawyer who works with Adler on brain injury cases, said insurers “ought to be going out there and insisting that the law is followed, training the coaches, training people to do what is right. The question I would have for them is what is the solution for this? Do you want to eliminate sports? Because that‘s what it would be, right?”

In fact, pressure from litigation has already led to numerous improvements in player safety at all levels. The NFL has spent tens of millions of dollars on concussion research, sponsored a nationwide program called Heads Up to promote player safety and enacted dozens of rule changes designed to reduce head injuries. One of those rules for this season, an effort to curb targeting, generated intense preseason scrutiny and discussion among players, fans and coaches, even as commissioner Roger Goodell said, “Our focus is on how to take the head out of the game and make sure we‘re using the helmet as protection, and it‘s not being used as a weapon.”

The NFL declined a request to interview executive vice president and chief financial officer Joseph Siclare for this story. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy asked Outside the Lines for written questions but did not answer any of them.

Lee Gaby, an insurance consultant and former risk manager for hundreds of public school districts, said some insurance companies have begun to require concussion management plans and technology such as neuropsychological testing kits as “hammers” to encourage behavior that reduces claims.

But Gaby said he fears it won‘t be enough for some companies wary of huge potential losses.

“I‘m tending to be on the side that this is going to be a lot bigger than we think. I don‘t know if I‘d compare it to asbestos. I‘m somewhere in the middle,” he said. “But I just have a foreboding sense that there‘s so much more we don‘t know. No one wants to be the last to find out and be the one that‘s writing all the risk.”

As claims mount, Gaby, who played high school football in Georgia, said he fears that an increasing number of school administrators will decide: “No more risk, no more football.”

Alex Fairly, CEO of the Fairly Group, an Amarillo, Texas-based risk management firm whose clients include the NFL and Major League Baseball, says, “If you‘re football, hockey or soccer, the insurance business doesn‘t want you.” Bill Roach for ESPN

ON MARCH 14, 2016, Jeff Miller, the NFL‘s executive vice president of health and safety initiatives, acknowledged the link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy in remarks to a congressional committee. Miller‘s statement was shocking: It was the first time a senior NFL official had publicly connected football and the disease that has been found in at least 110 deceased former players.

His statement set off alarms inside the offices of the NFL‘s insurer, Berkley Entertainment & Sports. In the concussion era, Berkley has become the lone carrier willing to cover pro football for head trauma. Miller‘s admission was a gift to plaintiff attorneys, who could cite it in lawsuits against the NFL. The stakes were enormous: Berkley, along with its clients, was potentially exposed to millions of dollars in future claims.

Within hours, top executives pressed Cindy Broschart, Berkley Entertainment‘s president, on whether the time had come to cut the NFL loose. Broschart held firm. She explained that Berkley had protected itself by raising deductibles to unprecedented levels and, after Miller‘s comments, would have the opportunity to push them up further.

Broschart ended up doing just that: When the NFL‘s policy expired last year, Berkley doubled the per-claim deductible to $1 million and significantly increased the “aggregate” — the total amount teams are required to cover before Berkley spends a dime. The NFL, represented by Fairly, accepted the terms.

Fairly, one of the most prominent risk management experts in sports, declined to discuss the specifics of the deal. But he said the NFL‘s limited options reveal “how tenuous it is to buy insurance in professional sports. It literally rests in the hands of a single person in the world.”

Over the past several years, the concussion crisis has brought about dozens of rule changes, innovations in protective equipment and a relentless public relations campaign to convince parents and athletes that the game has never been safer.

But the insurance industry isn‘t buying it. To an increasing number of carriers, football is a dam built atop an earthquake fault. A disaster might never occur, but the specter of huge potential losses is scaring many companies away.

“I don‘t want to use the word ‘meltdown,‘ but there‘s a panic in the market,” said Gaby.

To understand why requires some basic information about the $1.2 trillion insurance industry. Insurance customers, of course, are buying peace of mind: the knowledge that their financial needs will be met if a costly event takes place. Companies profit by betting that they will take in more in premiums and investment income than they pay out in claims. To price that risk, the carriers — much like casinos and sports books — calculate the odds that a loss will occur, mining mountains of data about everything from traffic accidents to mortality rates. Auto and life insurance are the craps tables and roulette wheels of the industry: The data set is so large that companies have a high probability of making money.

What scares the industry about football is the limited available data and the vast uncertainty. There are roughly 300,000 football-related concussions each year, according to an estimate by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center‘s sports concussion program. But the prevalence of CTE, and the likelihood that current players will develop dementia or other disorders, is unknown. The “trigger” — how and when the disease starts — has not been established. CTE can be diagnosed only after death, and the symptoms, which range from depression to delusional behavior, might not surface for decades.

“THIRTY YEARS FROM NOW YOU COULD BE ON THE HOOK, AND THAT‘S A VERY DIFFICULT SITUATION FOR AN INSURANCE COMPANY TO BE IN.” JAMES LYNCH, CHIEF ACTUARY FOR THE INSURANCE INFORMATION INSTITUTE

In 2005, when the first CTE case was reported in a former NFL player, 25 scholarly papers that included the words “football” and “concussion” were published. Last year, there were 139, according to PubMed, a database of scientific research. Some of the studies have been ominous: Last April, researchers at the Veterans Administration Boston Healthcare System and Boston University reported that participating in tackle football before age 12 “appears to increase vulnerability to the effects of CTE and other brain disease or conditions.”

In insurance parlance, traumatic brain injury is a “long-tail claim” that might take years to develop, then pay out indefinitely in the form of costly legal fees (to defend lawsuits and pay off settlements and judgments) and medical bills (to support disabled former players).

“Thirty years from now, you could be on the hook, and that‘s a very difficult situation for an insurance company to be in,” said James Lynch, chief actuary for the Insurance Information Institute in New York. “This is why the industry is concerned about it. You want to be able to box up that risk.”

The potential exposure for insurers is incalculable. After listening to a presentation on brain injuries and insurance at the annual Casualty Actuarial Society convention in Las Vegas, William Morrissey, a vice president and actuary for CNA Insurance, told the panel, “I‘m wondering how big of a sleeping giant this is.”

Morrissey noted that there are millions of former athletes exposed to repetitive head trauma who could file lawsuits against numerous targets, including schools, teams, leagues, coaches, athletic trainers and doctors. Insurers could be required to cover those legal costs.

“That‘s what scares me. I hope it scares everyone else,” Morrissey told the panel.

Moderator Barbara Murray, director of the financial services sector at PricewaterhouseCoopers, agreed that insurers could be exposed to a “free-for-all nightmare.”

The ultimate long-tail claim is asbestos. The link between the high-strength fiber, which was widely used in the construction industry, and the lung disease asbestosis was discovered in the mid-1960s. After more than 50 years of litigation, the industry still pays out $1.8 billion annually in asbestos-related claims.

Like asbestos-related diseases, CTE can take years to develop, increasing the possibility of decades of litigation. The pool of potential claimants is in the millions — theoretically, any athlete — with a variety of potential legal targets.

“There are parallels, and they are very real parallels,” Lynch said.

But there‘s a vast difference between asbestosis, which still claims 12,000 to 15,000 lives annually in the United States, and CTE, which has far fewer documented cases and a much smaller pool of potential victims. One broker called asbestos “a tidal wave” and sports-related brain injury “a ripple.”

Insurers have also “learned from their experience” from asbestos and are devising myriad strategies to limit costs, according to a 2016 report by S&P Global, a ratings agency. Many carriers are employing “exclusions” — which immunize the company from head trauma claims — or simply refusing to provide coverage.

Football and other sports are learning this the hard way.

When wrestling entrepreneur Vince McMahon decided to bring back the XFL, his first order of business was to look for insurance; without it, he knew, the league couldn‘t exist. Professional football requires two types of insurance: general liability and workers‘ compensation, which is mandatory under state laws. Pro sports teams need workers‘ compensation because the players — unlike amateur athletes — are employees.

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