NCAA Ruling on Pole Vault Collars Cites ASTM Standard

Padding that Meets Specification F2949 Must Be Installed by Dec. 1

ASTM International standard F2949, Specification for Pole Vault Box Collars, has been cited in a new ruling recently promulgated by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in an effort to make pole vaulting safer.

The new rule, recently approved by the NCAA's Playing Rules Oversight Panel, is a student athlete safety proposal that calls for padding around pole vault boxes that meets the requirements of F2949. The padding is to be installed by Dec. 1 wherever NCAA competition takes place. Padding can be incorporated into the design of the pole vault box or can be an addition to the existing pole vault box collar.

A pole vault box is a four-sided trough at the end of the pole vault runway. Vaulters plant the lower end of the vaulting pole into the pole vault box before takeoff.

The box collar, as described in F2949, offers impact protection to pole vaulters in and around a pole vault box. The standard covers the minimum requirements of the collar's size, physical characteristics of materials, standard testing procedures, and the labeling and identification of pole vault box collars. The dynamic data obtained with the procedures in F2949 measure the cushioning properties of the pole vault landing system being tested.

F2949 was developed by Subcommittee F08.67 on Pole Vault, part of ASTM International Committee F08 on Sports Equipment and Facilities. The standard was approved by F08 in September 2012.

A research article published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine in 2012 noted that rule changes in pole vaulting that have been mandated since 2002 have reduced the number of catastrophic injuries to pole vault competitors.

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