By: Blonde Two

This comment was sent to us by a former Outdoor Education Coordinator, who was concerned about impact of negative press on outdoor pursuits, including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. We think he has an interesting point. What do you think?

“I often wonder why these events make the news. You never hear ‘Footballer hurt on football field’. I ran 160 expeditions with approximately 340 individual young people each year, over the course of 10 years; and only once was an ambulance involved (broken ankle caused by jumping on uneven ground, with pack on back, with walking trainers rather than boots – no ankle support). The PE dept called an ambulance/air ambulance multiple times per term!

This kind of reporting makes our beloved industry and its leaders/participants look incompetent. I know in this case it was a group of climbers and not a led expedition, but it still has the same effect. The outdoor industry covers some of the most regulated and safety conscious sports in the world. Perhaps this does make this accident newsworthy?

Anyway, publishing this article it does damage to our cause. Parents will see this and worry about their little darlings when out with the Outdoor Ed team. ‘But there was an accident recently’ they say. It doesn’t help us when we’re trying to develop confidence, leadership, communication skills, determination, resilience, tenacity, etc. Parents are unlikely to say ‘Jimmy’s not playing rugby anymore; because last week his mate broke his collar bone playing rugby.’

Just under 20,000 participants signed up to DofE Awards last year. Almost all will have completed at least one expedition. I wonder how many ambulances were called out. I bet it’s quite a low percentage.

In my Blonde times out with Ten Tors and DofE youngsters, I have only encountered one ambulance incident … and that was for me!