A new bill would include javelin as a DIAA event. (Photo by sirtravelalot/Shutterstock)

Safety concerns surround bill OKing javelin as DIAA sport

Jarek RutzHeadlines, Government

A new bill would include javelin as a DIAA event. (Photo by sirtravelalot/Shutterstock)

A new bill would include javelin as a DIAA event. (Photo by sirtravelalot/Shutterstock)

A new sporting event could be adopted into track and field competitions across the state.

Senate Bill 211, sponsored by Sen. Darius Brown, D-Wilmington, makes the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association adopt javelin as an approved event for all DIAA-sponsored track and field competitions.

In presenting the bill to the Senate Education Committee Wednesday, Brown pointed out that javelin has historical roots in the Olympic Games of Ancient Greece and is a recognized event within the rules and regulations found within the National Federations of State High School Associations.

According to the Wall Street Journal in July 2022, Brown said, at least 22 states within the country have adopted the javelin as a throwing event within their high school track and field programs.

The NCAA also has sponsored a javelin event since 1921 for men and 1982 for women.

Sen. Laura Sturgeon, D-Hockessin, and chair of the Senate Education Committee, asked Brown about the safety of the sport.

“The javelin throw can be practiced safely with appropriate safety precautions and rules, such as the use of a rubber tipped javelin,” Brown said.

The single public commenter, Robert Overmiller said this was concerning. He pointed out that historically there have been deaths of young people goofing around and playing catch with the javelin. 

Overmiller said boys will be boys, and said even with the rubber tips, if young athletes are playing around, the objects are still dangerous and could cause serious harm.

Sen. Eric Buckson, R-Dover, who’s been involved in athletics for decades as his time as an educator, said he was concerned that schools not offering javelin will be at a disadvantage at interscholastic competitions. 

Brown clarified that just because the bill would require the DIAA to approve the javelin as an event, not every school has to offer it.

“These are the same challenges most high schools have in our state with most of the field athletic options within track and field,” he said, “from high jump, to pole vault and everything else.”

Having points docked in competitions for not having athletes to field certain events is something schools have been dealing with forever, and while it is true that schools not offering javelin might miss out on a higher score, this isn’t a new concept, Brown pointed out.

Buckson suggested that many schools don’t even have the facilities in place to practice javelin. 

Senate committees do not take a public vote. Rather, the senators sign the back of the bill with their vote, and the outcome is posted on the bill tracker, typically within an hour or two.

If released by the education committee, SB 211 will go to the Senate floor for a vote. 

Update: the bill has been released by committee with 1 “no” vote and 4 “on its merits.” A vote for on its merits indicates the legislator thought the issue should be debated in the future, but didn’t want to be on the record supporting or rejecting the bill.

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