Jared Lutz ( PV accident that happened 2008)

Discussion about ways to make the sport safer and discussion of past injuries so we can learn how to avoid them in the future.
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Jared Lutz ( PV accident that happened 2008)

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:39 pm

I heard a rumor of this at the time, but I never saw anything on my news feeds and forgot about it. I stumbled upon this today while looking for something else.


http://mcdanielfreepress.com/blog/index.php?itemid=233

Pole vaulter injured during practice

Lutz in critical condition as a result of head injury

Family and friends offer support, keep Lutz in their thoughts

By Melanie Chupein, Co-Editor in Chief

The McDaniel College community continues to rally support for transfer student Jared Lutz and his family. Lutz remains in critical condition at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Medical personnel are closely watching his pressure vitals.

Members of the Lutz family have created a website for Jared through Caring Bridge, sponsored by the University of Maryland Medical Center. The site features a journal updated by the family with information about Lutz’s condition. The guest book tab allows visitors to leave messages and since February 3, there have been a total of 165 messages.

In addition to the website, anyone in the community wanting to send their wishes to Lutz can address cards to Jared Lutz, c/o of University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, 22 S. Greene Street, 4 South - Bed 17, Baltimore, MD 21201.

On Thursday, January 31 it was initially speculated that Lutz fell while completing his vault but information confirmed by Athletic Director Jamie Smith, explained that Lutz tripped on the mat, losing his balance and hitting his head. This occurred sometime between 5:15 p.m. and 5:19 p.m. according to Mike Webster, director of Campus Safety. Westminster paramedics arrived at 5:26 p.m. and a helicopter was on the scene at 5:47 p.m. landing on the soccer field.

The Carroll County Times wrote an article about Lutz’s accident in its Saturday, February 2 issue where Joyce Muller, associate vice president for communications and marketing, said that Lutz had surgery on Friday and is in intensive care. She emphasized that the college is concerned and that their thoughts are with Lutz and his family.

“In the fifteen years I’ve been here,” Webster said, “there’s never been a pole vaulting accident.”

News of the accident was emailed to the members of the track and field team. In the email, Coach Bryn Upton said, “On Thursday afternoon, while practicing the pole vault, Jared vaulted off the mats hitting his head. He was knocked unconscious. Just before 6pm Jared was airlifted to shock trauma in Baltimore. Coach Estes and Jason Maier drove down to the hospital and the last message I had was that he was undergoing tests and his parents were with him but he had not regained consciousness. I know I speak for the entire coaching staff when I say that our thoughts and prayers are with the Lutz family.”

The McDaniel community was informed about the accident via an email from President Joan Develin Coley’s office on Friday, February 1, which said, “Jared Lutz, a junior on the McDaniel men’s track and field team, suffered a head injury during practice at the Gill Center on Thursday afternoon. Medical personnel on the scene rushed him to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he underwent surgery.”

“Currently he is in intensive care. This is a tragic and unexpected outcome to a routine sports practice. We know that you join me in keeping him and his family in our thoughts and prayers,” the email added.

“In times like this you find out how large of a scope your friends are,” said Doug Renner, track and field head coach.

Renner, who’s been coaching since 1988, went on to say that he received a call from a coach at Messiah who had a kid on his team that went to church with Lutz.

“Our thoughts and our prayers are with Jared and with his family,” added Renner.

Although Renner declined to comment about the accident, he said that this is Jared’s first year in the program, and his father is a pole vault coach and his sister vaults as well.

“He’s a great kid. He’s the kind of guy that brings a smile to your face when he walks in the room,” said Renner. “He’s certainly a great addition to our team.”

The community can get updates on Lutz’s status through the website as his family frequently adds posts to the journal section of Lutz’s website.

The first post the Lutz family made, dated Thursday, January 31, said, “The beginning…where do I start? It’s a little fuzzy (even for me) but it’s my hope that when Jared looks back on this and reads it, he will see how much we love him and how many lives he has touched all across the world.”

The post continued, “I don’t remember at all how we managed to get downtown which is very sad because I was the one in charge of giving the driving directions! After getting our visitor badges, they directed us to the waiting area where Coach Estes and Jason were. They had driven down to be with him as much as possible.”

Another post dated February 4, said, “The nurses were so pleased that the night went well. It was the first time that Jared’s numbers didn’t change negatively ovenight [sic]. In fact, he’s down to 40% on the oxygen and still in the 30’s! They also changed the skull surgery bandages and were going to tweek [sic] a few of the wires. His coloring looks good and he still looks so peaceful.”

On February 8, the family wrote, “Jared...I prayed today for a sign for how he’s doing. His numbers actually reached 14 today (he was at 80 when they brought him into the emergency room). I know that they will continue to go up and down, but when they do go up, they seem to not go as far as before, and come down a little more than before. The nurses have said not to stress over the exact number but rather patterns. However, since I have such limited medical knowledge I need something I can focus on and relate to. This seems to be it!”

While friends and family have been able to read about Lutz’s progress from the Caring Bridge website, others have opted to write on his Facebook wall, offering messages of prayer, encouragement and love.

Students on the track and field team met with the coaches to discuss the incident.

“I went to high school with Jared,” said sophomore Jen Thompson. “We were friends on the track team at Liberty High school, then we graduated together, and we both came to McDaniel where we are both on the track team together. Jared is entertaining to say the least, no matter how bad your day is he has something ridiculous to say to make you stop and smile. He makes fun of me a lot too and that is pretty much my favorite part of our relationship: our constant friendly banter.”

Junior Erin Balsamo, another pole vaulter, said, “He shows up to practice all the time, and he’s always ready to vault. He’s fun to hang out with and he’s helpful. He knows a lot of tips because he’s been doing it for years.”

Asked about any safety concerns with vaulting, Balsamo added, “Every athlete knows the dangers involved. They know what could happen. They just have to take precautions. I’m still gonna do it.”

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Re: Jared Lutz ( PV accident that happened 2008)

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:40 pm

http://mcdanielfreepress.com/blog/index.php?itemid=282

Lutz still in critical condition

By Melanie Chupein, Co-Editor in Chief

Pole vaulter Jared Lutz remains in critical condition but stable at the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.
Lutz’s temperature is being closely monitored, and he has been keeping down the food administered to him through a feeding tube, according to the Caring Bridge website Lutz’s family set up for him, which can be found at http://caringbridge.org/visit/jaredlutz.

Also in the journal, Lutz’s family indicated that he is still battling with two blood clots, some swelling in the abdomen area, two bruises on his brain and has yet to fully regain consciousness.

“We continue to monitor Jared’s medical condition online and through visits made by the coaching staff,” said Joyce Muller, associate vice president of communications and marketing. “We continue to express prayers of concern for Jared and his family.”

Lutz was injured while practicing the pole vault on Thursday, January 31 when he fell off the landing mat and hit his head. He was rushed to Shock Trauma via helicopter. The McDaniel community has continued to offer support to Lutz and his family through their visits to the hospital and posts in the guest book on the website. Cards can be mailed to Jared Lutz, c/o of University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, 22 S. Greene Street, 4 South - Bed 17, Baltimore, MD 21201.

Doug Renner, head coach of the track and field team, cites the website as the best source for information about Jared and added, “Jared and his family remain in our thoughts and prayers daily.”

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Re: Jared Lutz ( PV accident that happened 2008)

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:43 pm

Here's his CaringBridge page, looks like his parents update it pretty frequently: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jaredlutz/


I found an early entry that seems to describe how he was injured:
Lutz, a Liberty High School graduate, of Eldersburg, had just cleared the bar and landed on the mats. As he attempted to get up, he somehow lost his balance and/or possibly got his foot stuck in a strap and fell, hitting his head.

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Re: Jared Lutz ( PV accident that happened 2008)

Unread postby VaultPurple » Thu Oct 01, 2009 7:34 pm

Lutz was injured while practicing the pole vault on Thursday, January 31 when he fell off the landing mat and hit his head. He was rushed to Shock Trauma via helicopter. The McDaniel community has continued to offer support to Lutz and his family through their visits to the hospital and posts in the guest book on the website. Cards can be mailed to Jared Lutz, c/o of University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, 22 S. Greene Street, 4 South - Bed 17, Baltimore, MD 21201.


vs.

Lutz, a Liberty High School graduate, of Eldersburg, had just cleared the bar and landed on the mats. As he attempted to get up, he somehow lost his balance and/or possibly got his foot stuck in a strap and fell, hitting his head.


Just goes to show that everyone wants to make a big story out of everything and find something to blame (just press in general, not the vaulter or parents). And by doing this they turn pole vaulting into a sport that no one should be allowed to do because it is too dangerous. The same reason several counties in NC do not allow pole vaulting in high schools. I mean why say in news.. "teenager injured while tripping at track practice" when you could blow it up and say "Teenage injured pole vaulting at high school", then you get to write a big long article discribing all the dangers of pole vaulting and getting everyones opinion on the safty of it, when in truth pole vaulting had very little if not nothing to do with the accident.

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Re: Jared Lutz ( PV accident that happened 2008)

Unread postby KirkB » Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:03 pm

VaultPurple wrote: ... Just goes to show that everyone wants to make a big story out of everything and find something to blame (just press in general, not the vaulter or parents). And by doing this they turn pole vaulting into a sport that no one should be allowed to do because it is too dangerous. The same reason several counties in NC do not allow pole vaulting in high schools. I mean why say in news.. "teenager injured while tripping at track practice" when you could blow it up and say "Teenage injured pole vaulting at high school", then you get to write a big long article discribing all the dangers of pole vaulting and getting everyones opinion on the safty of it, ...

VP, I'd be careful of drawing any conclusions on how or why the press reported this incident incorrectly. You might be dead on ... or you might be way off.

VaultPurple wrote: ... when in truth pole vaulting had very little if not nothing to do with the accident.

Well, if he wasn't pole vaulting, he wouldn't have had this accident. Stepping out of the pit safely (after landing his vault "safely") is part of pole vaulting!

I'm for honest reporting ... and I'm for full disclosure of EXACTLY how PV accidents happen ... to prevent recurrences.

This goes not only for this accident, but for the San Antonio one (reported in another thread today), and for ALL PV accidents. The more we know about how they happen ... no matter how unusual the circumstances ... the more we can improve the safety of our sport.

My followup questions on this particular accident are: "How could someone hit their head so badly by merely tripping over a strap on the pit and hitting his head? What did he hit? Did he hit concrete or something solid that was next to the pit? If so, why was there anything solid like that next to the pit?" It's only after we get factual answers to these types of questions that we can recognize the peril and fix it ... not just at that pit ... but EVERYWHERE!

Kirk
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Re: Jared Lutz ( PV accident that happened 2008)

Unread postby VaultPurple » Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:26 pm

i know what you are saying, but i read some of the first post by his mom on that site and she said he was not vaulting, just tripped. What I meant by pole vault had nothing to do with it was, it could have happend on a high jump pit, standing on a chair, or even at my high school half the kids playing on the pit were not even pole vaultes.

But with that said I still think the most dangerous part about pole vaulting is the surroundings, ie. concrete, non-rubber tracks, fences, bleachers, training objects.

In high school I did the same thing he did (from what im guessing). I vaulted stood up fast and started fallin so i took a few steps to get my feet under me, steped right off the side of the mat, and i hit the back of my head on a metal plyrometric box. Why they were stacked next to the pole vault pit I am still clueless.. But luckly I just got a big goose egg on my head. Thats why I am still interested in how you could injure your head that bad from falling 2 feet and hitting it, on anything.

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Re: Jared Lutz ( PV accident that happened 2008)

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:47 am

If you're standing on top of the pit, you're a lot more than 2 feet off the ground. How tall are pits, like 3 feet? And a college guy, probably 6' tall, maybe a little less. So his head could have been as high as 9', realistically probably more like 7 or 8.

Most of the time if people trip falling out of the pit, they break the fall with their hands. If he fell, was unable to break the fall, and hit his head on a hard surface, that's probably enough force to be fatal. I think low-end skateboard helmets are rated for falls from 3 feet. :eek:


I would classify this one as a combination of freak accident (I would bet that 99.9% of the people that fall while walking off the pit are able to at least break their fall with something) and a reminder to not have hard surface around the pit.

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Re: Jared Lutz ( PV accident that happened 2008)

Unread postby decanuck » Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:01 am

It's because of things like this that I forbid my vaulters to use 'christmas tree' style spikes in their shoes, as such a design is more likely to snag on the cover pad. Pyramids or pins--thats it (and if they are pins, they have to be thick enough that the ends wont bend and form hooks).

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Re: Jared Lutz ( PV accident that happened 2008)

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:11 pm

I had heard rumors to this effect, and now have confirmation from the family that Jared's accident was not caused from him tripping while walking off the pit.

They were using high jump mats, not pole vault pits, and with no supplemental padding. When Jared was warming up his feet got tangled in the mat and he fell onto the basketball floor.

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Re: Jared Lutz ( PV accident that happened 2008)

Unread postby McD » Thu Dec 17, 2009 5:49 pm

Hello All,

Not Sure how active this thread is at the time, but felt it important to post.

There were about 8 people in the gym that day and I was one of them. 4 coaches 2 vaulters myself and another athlete. Myself and the other athlete were the closest to the incident (or the landing area). 2 coaches and the other vaulter were at the start of the jump and the other 2 coachs was at the far end of the gym. Please keep in ming specific details are a little cloudy this was 2 years ago.

The landing pit did not contain any pole vaulting mats. They instead contained 3 High Jump Mats. they were put together to attempt to form a square (instead of a rectangle like high jump mats would usually form) (If you can bare with me and imagine this )it created a gap in the square. If you are standing on the box in front of the mats.. the two high jump mats were horizontal back to back.. and to the left was a vertical mat and this created a gap in the back left corner. To the right was a wall... there was now space between the mat and the wall.

Jared and other vaulters haven been jumping on this for some time. This was however jared's first season with us at the college. And was prob the best even thou he was just hitting 10ft.

This practice session was happening during our winter session and jared had been jumping all evening.

Myself and another athlete were waiting to do plyometrics and were sitting on plyo boxes about 10 feet from the pads. I remember so clearly the series of events that followed.

Jared jumped and came about 6 inches from hitting the floor. HE ALMOST MISSED THE MAT COMPLETELY! he landed about 6 inches from that gap i mentioned before. The other athlete and I JUMPED up and yelled at the vaulting coach that he almost missed the mat!

He told us he had just hit the pole wrong.

Jared's next jump was his last jump.

I tell myself this everyday "that at the scene of a murder 10 different people will see 10 different things." I was the closest to the incident the other athlete right next to me and this is what we saw.

Jared jumped, and as he turned over the bar and as he fell with his back towards the mat (how any vaulter would land properly.. back towards the mat) the only thing that hit the mat were his calves and his head directly hit the ground. The "ground was a rubberized gym floor."

I want to be very clear that 911 was called immediately and the athletic trainer was at the scene in less then a minute.

It is Terrifying to retell this story since I have to watch the replay in my head.

Both Myself and the other athlete told this story to the trainers, the coaches, reporters, the Athletic Director and still the story remains that he tripped off the mat. He did not trip off the mat.

This is was I saw, and this is the first time that I have publicly written this.

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Re: Jared Lutz ( PV accident that happened 2008)

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:24 pm

Thank you for sharing that, it must have been difficult to relive those memories.

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Re: Jared Lutz ( PV accident that happened 2008)

Unread postby KirkB » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:21 pm

McD, thanks for posting the truth about this accident. I usually read all posts pertaining to PV safety, but somehow I missed reading your reply until today, when another coach that's using HJ pits advertised for a used PV pit here http://www.polevaultpower.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=18947.

Here's a sketch of what I think you described the pit setup to be.
PV Pit of Lutz Accident.JPG
PV Pit of Lutz Accident.JPG (6.32 KiB) Viewed 10691 times

As a rough sketch, I intended for each of the 3 HJ pits to be the same size. Sorry, but I didn't draw the pit to the scale of the box either. I'm sure it was much bigger!

The gap that you refer to is in the top-left corner of the sketch - the "missing corner" of the overall pit.

I also drew a slight gap between each pit, only to illustrate the 3 pits as 3 separate pieces of foam. However, without a top cover, there can ALSO be a safety hazard between these types of mats - especially if not tied tightly together.

The wall to the right of the pit is shown in gray.

McD, please advise if I've drawn anything incorrectly.

To summarize what I understand from the Lutz accident ... taking your first-hand account of it, rather than what the media reported ...

1. HJ pits were used instead of a proper PV pit.
2. The HJ pits were undersized, there was no top mat covering all the HJ pits and holding them together.
3. The 3 HJ mats did not make a perfect rectangle, so there was a "gap" (a missing corner section) in the far left corner of the pit.
4. The wall being so close to the pit was also a danger - altho not a factor in this particular accident.
5. There were 4 coaches and 4 athletes in the gym at the time of the accident. FOUR COACHES!
6. On the jump before his accident, Lutz landed dangerously close to that gap ... his coach was warned by 2 of the athletes of the danger ... but the coach ignored the warning ... and advised Lutz to continue to vault ... or at least did not do anything to STOP him from vaulting.
7. Lutz landed in the gap, incurring severe injuries.

Lessons learned:

1. ALWAYS conform to the NFHS PV regulations - summarized here: http://www.npvca.com/matriarch/MultiPiecePage.asp_Q_PageID_E_17_A_PageName_E_CurriculumRules). Articles 7-13 relate to the pit setup.

2. Don't use HJ pits instead of PV pits ... they're not as safe - especially if they're not as big as a regulation PV pit (when tied together). I might add that they can not only be smaller width-wise and length-wise, but they're also not as DEEP ... so you could easily "bottom out" ... especially if you're vaulting relatively high or if the pits are old (worn down).

3. If the pit is home-made (from other old pit parts), make sure they're securely tied together, and make sure there's a top cover over it (per NFHS regulations). (This was not a factor in this accident, but is still a hazard.)

4. Do NOT locate the pit so close to a wall! (The wall was not a factor in this accident, but is still a hazard.)

5. The coach has a responsibility of "Safety First". He's the person in charge, and is expected to be the one with the most experience and common sense.

6. If the coach doesn't take appropriate action when something appears to be unsafe, then the other coaches, athletes, officials, parents, fans, or on-lookers MUST take action until the safety hazard is remedied.

Did I miss anything?

I think it's especially disappointing when an accident like this is clearly AVOIDABLE ... but happened despite the obviously unsafe pit ... and despite the warnings! :no: [sigh]

Kirk
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