NewsLocal News


Keeping kids safe at athletic clubs

Posted at 10:32 PM, Jan 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-26 23:32:00-05

The case of Larry Nassar, former doctor of the USA Gymnastic team convicted of sexually assaulting more than 150 young girls and women has brought to light a systemic problem regarding sexual assault. 

Tim Mathison, owner of Airborne Academy, where young young Omaha kids go to do tumbling, cheer and gymnastics says it's all about prevention. That's why he was particular about the way he set up his facility nearly five years ago. 

"I wanted a full view of the kids for the parents. I wanted them to be able to watch their kids do the things they can do and I wanted to make sure that we're covered everywhere with no blind spots," added Mathison.

Mathison installed cameras throughout the open gym and can easily review footage from his cell phone. He says every area of the building is covered by cameras.

"There's no spot to go to to work one-on-one. There's no spot like that here. It's all open and visible," added Mathison.

According to Mathison, whether it's an athlete injury, looking at the childrens' athletic progress, or reviewing an adult and child relationship, with technology such as cameras and open space, it's easier to avoid gray areas and keep employees and kids safe.

"Sometimes there's times when there's a skill performed where a coach does have to be hands on in order to flip them over and protect for the safety of the skill," said Mathison. "We have to make sure that what we call 'normal course of business' so it's never questioned why we're putting our hands on an athlete or child so that we're performing that correctly and there's no threat involved."

Mathison has also implemented the 'buddy system' and says there's always at least two adults for one-on-one coaching. When there's about 100 kids on the floor, Mathison says there's typically 12 to 13 adults at different stations watching over the kids.