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Safety and Support

The safety of all athletes, coaches, and volunteers is a main concern of the Committee during the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Fall Festival. Thus, we ask that you please read the following information to better prepare yourself in the case of an emergency:

Operations Center in the Dougherty Hall Room 102

(Click a Tab below for the specific information)

The Operations Center is your main source of information and resources. Security, as well as medical staff, will be located there during all hours to provide you with answers to any questions. The operations center will be located in the Dougherty 102. This is where medical volunteers will report to pick up supplies and receive their medical volunteer shirt.

The Command Center is centrally located in the Student Government Association Office on the second floor of Dougherty Hall, and serves as the radio dispatch center for medical emergencies. When an incident arises at a venue, medical volunteers are expected to communicate the incident via radio to the Command Center. In the Command Center there will always be a medical or security committee member, a VEMS dispatcher, and other qualified medical personnel to screen the calls and determine subsequent actions.

When calling the Command Center:

  1. Talk to the dispatcher in a calm voice.

  2. Give the dispatcher your name, group/team name, and the nature and location of the emergency. If you are reporting an injured athlete, please do NOT give the name of the athlete.

  3. Stay on the phone so that the dispatcher can get additional information from you if needed.


The medical committee, EMTs, athletic trainers, and physicians  will be on call each day of the festival to treat an injury or to handle an emergency. Emergency Medical Technicians are distinguishable by "Villanova Emergency Medical Service" or VEMS uniforms and all other medical personnel are distinguishable by their red shirts with the large white cross on the front and back.

All Medical Volunteers are CPR certified.

In the case of an emergency, dial 610-519-4444 if on campus or 911 at any time.


Emergency Procedures

In the event that an emergency arises during the course of the Games, the following steps are to be taken:

  1. Notify personnel with access to radio communications at competition site.
  2. They will notify the venue coordinator, event director, and SOPA liaison at the venue.
    ** If off-campus, notify your HOD who will contact the SOPA Liaison. **
  3. The event director and SOPA liaison for Fall Festival will meet with the SOPA President and other appropriate individuals.

Notification of action to be taken will be made in the appropriate manner. If action needs to be taken in regard to inclement weather during the Games, appropriate signage will be placed at meals, hotels, and venues. Heads of delegation will also be notified at their daily meeting.

Meeting Points in the Event of Emergency
Once on site at the Games, coaches will receive the most up-to-date meeting points for the hotels and the venues, along with the room number for the SOPA staff person in their hotels, and the room number for the medical/security room in their hotels. Coaches will also receive procedures in the event of a total area evacuation.

Inclement Weather Plan

inclimate weather

In the event of rain or other inclement weather, all indoor events will continue as scheduled. Outdoor competitions will continue until officials determine competition is unsafe. At that point, competition will stop and an announcement will be made at all venues. If there is inclement weather prior to competition beginning, the plan will be to wait it out for the time being.

In the event of a rain delay, when declared by officials at that venue, athletes and coaches should proceed to any indoor competition venue for shelter. An announcement will be made at all competition sites and Olympic Town as to the status of the rain delay. Official Inclement Weather Delay updates will be posted at the Operations Center, located in Doughtery 102. When rain subsides, it will be announced as to what time competition will resume and the schedule that will be followed for each sport.

The Management Team will make every effort to conduct all events at the Fall Festival. The Games' Officials, however, have the authority to suspend or even cancel some events for the health and safety of participants. Thank you for your cooperation in this manner.

Medical Emergencies

medical emergencies

In Case of Injury or Illness:

  • All medical concerns, no matter how minor they appear, MUST be reported to the medical emergency personnel located at the competition venues and on the Villanova University campus at the Command Center in the SGA office.

  • If the condition is severe, stay with the athlete or person who needs assistance. Do not move the patient.

  • Have someone seek help at the nearest emergency medical station. Send someone to find the athlete’s coach immediately.

  • If we cannot find the HOD for that delegation then we will try to reach him by cell phone or pager or leave a message at the respective hotel.

  • HOD/coach must fill out an incident report in case of injury and submit it to the appropriate SOPA liaison.


Night Injury or Illness:

If an illness or injury occurs during the night, the head of delegation is to report directly to the medical committee present at the hotel. You will be notified of these room numbers when you check into the hotel and at the first HOD meeting.

Medical Assistance Locations:

There will be a medical assistance location at each venue and one central facility on the Villanova University campus at the Operations Center, the West Lounge in Dougherty Hall. Medical assistance will also be available at the hotels during the evening. There will also be an ambulance on campus to assist with any greater injuries or emergencies to transport them to Bryn Mawr Hospital.

Medical Forms & Recording Procedures:

Medical records for the athletes will be kept on-site and will be accessible to medical personnel at all times. Coaches must have copies of their athletes’ medical release forms with them at all times or in the respective athlete’s credential holder.

Coaches should notify the parent or guardian of an injured athlete when a serious injury occurs. In case of hospitalization, records of the incident will be completed in accordance with EMT protocol and held in the Fall Festival Games file and forwarded to ASIS.


It is the responsibility of each coach, not the athlete escorts, to make sure that the athletes requiring medication have enough for the weekend and take it as prescribed. Remember to keep track of the time and dosage in case of medical emergency.


It is Special Olympics’ intent to take steps to help ensure the health and safety of all Special Olympics participants. All Special Olympics participants should remember that safety comes first and should take reasonable steps to help minimize the risks for concussion or other serious brain injuries.

Effective January 1, 2015, a participant who is suspected of sustaining a concussion in a practice, game or competition shall be removed from practice, play or competition at that time. A qualified medical professional (physician) is available on-site to render an evaluation, and that physician shall have final authority as to the removal or return to play of the participant. If applicable, the participant’s parent or guardian should be made aware that the participant is suspected of a concussion.


A balanced diet is essential to an athlete’s performance at the Festival. The diet should contain extra carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables prior to and during the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Fall Festival, along with a normal intake of salt. Athletes should be discouraged from eating greasy, fried, or fatty foods during the Festival. Don’t allow your athletes to overeat, especially before competition. Water stations will be provided at each venue site to help prevent dehydration.

Pre-Competition Warm-Up:

Have your athletes properly stretch with warm-up exercises before the competition. Five minutes of stretching prevents muscle pulls, strains and other injuries that may occur if these exercises are not performed. Each competition site will have warm-up areas where the athletes can stretch before competing.