Rise of Students Participating in Sports Creates Need for Preventative Maintenance to Gymnasium Equipment in Athletic Facilities

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Spoonball Sports reports: Ceiling suspended basketball structures are taking more abuse than ever before; athletes are larger and more aggressive while dunking or hanging on the equipment creating extreme force and pressure on the units and building framework. Over time, this stress without proper maintenance has the ability to manipulate original installation causing alignment issues, creating stress on the structures, motors, cables, beam clamps, bolts, pulleys, lowering rim heights, placing backboards out of alignment leading to expensive replacement costs and increasing the risk of equipment failures potentially causing property damage or personal injury.

Ceiling Suspended Basketball Structure

"Ceiling suspended basketball structures are mostly overlooked when athletic facilities perform annual maintenance"

According to the Center of Disease Control (http://www.cdc.gov/datastatistics/2008/brainInjuries), more than 38 million children and adolescents participate in sports in the United States each year. As a result of this growing number, new and existing facilities are reaching capacity maximizing their equipment and square footage creating a need for preventative maintenance to ceiling suspended athletic equipment.

"Athletic facilities are hosting a record number of sporting events annually," says Stephen Spoonhour, President , Spoonball Sports. "With this amount of activity and parents entrusting these facilities with the safety of their children; building and maintaining safe state-of-the-art facilities has never been more important. I grew up in and around athletic facilities most of my life and a lot has changed over the years." Stephen, son of Charlie Spoonhour who was a Division 1 basketball coach at Missouri State, Saint Louis University and UNLV. "I know that parents, school administrators and facility owners expect nothing but safety for their athletes and spectators at these facilities. Having a preventative maintenance program in place not only provides peace of mind, it also ensures some accidents can be prevented."

"Most schools utilize their own buildings and grounds crews to perform maintenance when problems arise but not at a preventative level. These same buildings and grounds crews are typically responsible for an entire campus and may not be properly trained or have the correct tools to work on items that may cause serious damage or harm." Spoonball Sports offers a preventative maintenance program that partners with buildings and grounds crews to ensure all points of athletic equipment and facilities are functioning properly and provides safety reports for insurance purposes.

Spoonhour comments, "Ceiling suspended basketball structures are mostly overlooked when athletic facilities perform annual maintenance. Equipment manufacturers recommend these structures have full-point safety inspections performed every one to two years depending on the specific athletic equipment age and facility usage." Facility managers or grounds crews are asked to perform work on these massive units weighting between 900-1,200lbs each depending on the ceiling heights, often they are unaware of the dangers and liabilities that lurk around the corner if not completed correctly.

"In the event of a cable failure for example," says Spoonhour, "a ceiling suspended basketball structure would go into a free-swing mode typically shattering the glass backboard, damaging support pipes, ceiling beams and attachment locations which may lead to support pipes falling to the ground putting athletes and spectators at risk. This type of safety concern may be reduced or eliminated completely with safety strap installations at each ceiling suspended structure that raises or lowers by cables."

Notable items installed in ceilings at gymnasiums throughout the United States include: Basketball Structures, Batting Cages, Divider Curtains, Wrestling Mat Hoists and Scoreboards.

Preventative maintenance includes providing proper torque to each ceiling attachment bolt and beam clamp, aircraft cable is free of kinks or damage, cable clamps are secure with back-ups, pulleys are installed in the proper alignment to minimize stress on motors, lubrication is applied to all moving parts to prevent wear and tear and motor limit switches are set to correct height.

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Stephen Spoonhour
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