The University of Notre Dame announced Tuesday that it will no longer use hydraulic lifts when filming football practices.
The announcement came more than four months after the college sports video community was shaken by the death of Notre Dame student videographer Declan Sullivan, whose scissor lift toppled over in 50 mile per hour winds last October. Investigations by the university and the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration are ongoing.
According to the South Bend Tribune, construction began Tuesday on a system that will employ cameras mounted on four 50-foot poles, one serving each of four practice fields at Notre Dame's LaBar Practice Complex. The cameras will be operated remotely from two permanent structures on the practice fields.
"I said in the days after Declan's death that we would do everything in our power to make changes to ensure that such an accident does not happen again - here or elsewhere," Notre Dame's president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, stated in a press release. "This system puts safety at the forefront in a completely new and innovative way."
That said, shooting video with unmanned cameras as apposed to elevated individuals was a concept already several years old when AB described the technology in 2002.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the Sullivan family is pleased with Notre Dame's decision and urges other schools to follow suit. Mike Miley, Declan's uncle, said, "The family, specifically [Declan's father] Barry, said he hopes other universities and sporting organizations take a look at their safety environments and follow Notre Dame's lead to see if there are other ways to make life safer for workers in other areas, as well."
In another gesture appreciated by the Sullivan family, the weatherproof boxes holding the video cameras will feature shamrock decals with the initials DS in the middle, similar to those appearing on Fighting Irish football helmets last fall. Rev. Jenkins said a permanent campus memorial to Sullivan also is in the works.