- Most players and coaches stay at onsite accommodations during a given competition
- Leagues and coaches are ultimately responsible for player’s safety
Easton Oliverson, the 12-year-old from Utah, suffered a devastating injury when he fell off from a bunk bed while staying at the Dr. Creighton J. Hale International Grove facility during the 2022 Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.
Per Little League’s Parent’s Guide (PDF link here):
Without exception, all players, managers, and coaches will reside at Dr. Creighton J. Hale International Grove, which is part of the Little League International Complex. The “Grove” is a restricted area, which means no parents/fans will be permitted inside the Grove during the team’s stay.
This rule is pretty much standard whether you are participating in LLWS, Cooperstown and other tournaments.
Basically, each team is assigned a dormitory room where all players on that team stay in a large sleeping room with 14 or so beer bunkbeds and a TV.
In the case of LLWS, there are two separate rooms for coaches attached to the form.
If you participate in All-Star Village Cooperstown tournament, coaches and players all stay in a single room.
After the initial loading/unloading luggage in to the dorm, parents are not allowed in so coaches are ultimately responsible for the safety of their players.
BUNK BEDS AT COMPETITIONS
Because 12-14 players are packed into a single room, most, if not all, dorms have bunk beds.
In the case of Little League, I found this picture inside their Parent’s Guide and was surprised to see that there were no guardrails for the top bunk
Now, I have never been to LLWS as a coach so I don’t know if these bunks are still being used in 2022 but if they are, perhaps LL should review it’s bunk bed safety
BUNK BED SAFETY
According to Nationwide Children’s website (link here), bunk bed should follow these safety tips:
- Use guardrails on both sides of the top bunk
- Guardrails need to extend at least 5 inches above the mattress top, which includes any added mattress pad(s), to prevent kids from rolling off
- Never let kids play on the bunk or ladder
- Install a night light near the ladder
- Teach kids how to carefully climb the ladder
- If your child will be sleeping on a bunk bed at school (or at a summer camp), be aware that these bunk beds are not required to meet federal safety standards. If no guardrail is present or it is not at least 5 inches above the top of the mattress, you may be able to request the appropriate size guardrails from the school/camp
When my team went to Cooperstown ASV few years ago, I noticed the top bunk beds had guardrails. Even then, I was worried about kids falling off so I placed older players and kids who were comfortable saying on the top bunk.
Although it’s against policy, I know some parents shared my concerns so they actually took their child at the end of the day to their hotel rooms!
As far as I know, hundreds of thousands of kids have played in the LLWS in the past without getting injured from falling off a top bunk so this accident seems just so random.
And I am not here to judge anyone since I do not have any detailed information other than what I found on the internet.
But I hope everyone, including event holders, coaches and players all learn from this terrible accident.
I pray for Easton’s speedy and full recovery.