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Paintball Training Institute (P.T.I.): The Real Story

There is no secret that a battle is going on right now for the hearts and minds of those of us within the Paintball Industry who have a genuine interest in promoting a safe and well informed sport.  It is disturbing, but a battle nevertheless.

There has been much distorted information published concerning the development of ASTM standards relating to Paintball by some whose desire is to confuse, belittle and cause apathy among us. When this kind of thing occurs, the vast majority of us who want to play, or successfully operate our businesses are affected in the most negative way.

Most sports eyewear standards writing is developed through the ASTM, whose subcommittees write standards for equipment used in a wide range of sports including gymnastics, golf, archery, wrestling, fencing, lacrosse, pole vaulting, racquet sports, hockey, and baseball, as well as for fitness equipment, BB guns, trampolines, and other products. Other subcommittees are
concerned with the more general problems of medical aspects and biomechanics, playing surfaces, playgrounds, headwear, footwear, padding, statistics, warning labels and signs, the female athlete, and eye safety.

Several years ago an ASTM subcommittee for Paintball was founded. For the first time in over a decade, the Paintball Industry had a standards organization which focused on important issues - things like player safety, equipment standards and the like.

Standards are designed to be revised as experience is gained. No matter how well the protector performs on paper or in the testing lab, it is only the use by thousands of players and continued injury monitoring that prove the protective value or demonstrate the failures of a particular design. For this reason, the ASTM mandates review of every published standard every five years.

Once the impact of the ASTM subcommittee for Paintball began to be felt within the industry, several far-thinking leaders of our community decided that an industry organization was needed to provide the industry with technical and safety training. One such organization was the P.T.I.--- Paintball Training Institute-- created by Bob McGuire of the American Paintball League (APL). P.T.I., serves as a training institution and certifies instructors for player safety education and air-fill station operation.

In putting together the PTI, McGuire drew on the resources of one of the most knowledgeable and well-liked individuals in the industry - Bud Orr of wOrr Game Products. Bud's technical expertise, as well as his appeal to players and field owners alike was guaranteed to create interest in participating in the P.T.I.

Where do things stand now?

P.T.I., stock holder and board meetings were held earlier this month and Mike Henry was removed from his positions as director and vice-president. It is important to note that while Mike Henry still retains a single share of stock in the organization, he no longer represents P.T.I., and is not involved in any further decision making processes. His partner, John Henry, never held any shares in P.T.I. However, in the past, John Henry was involved in the management of PTI.

Paintball 2-Xtremes and the Henry¹s, no longer have any control or involvement in P.T.I.

As a direct result of this reorganization P.T.I., has gained an immediate endorsement by Paintball News, as well as, the promised participation in its programs by many in the industry who had previously stayed uninvolved.

McGuire also remains as chairman of seven task group committees of the A.S.T.M., a testament to the respect and high regard he enjoys from his fellow colleagues on the sub-committee for Paintball.

Mr. McGuire and Mr. Orr have retained and strengthened their P.T.I., training and safety programs, and are in the process of introducing several new ones which will further advance their efforts. With this reorganization of P.T.I., they are now able to fully honor any and all commitments that were made to graduates of its former training classes. It is a big job going back and organizing over 300 ID photos, but within 6 to 8 weeks, all graduates will be in receipt of their Certification ID Cards.
 
At least two more P.T.I., conferences will be scheduled in 1999. September 24-26, 1999 in St. Louis, and a soon-to-be-released November date in Los Angeles. No classes from the Henrys are scheduled at these conferences.  P.T.I.,  also asks any graduate of their training programs who have not received a diploma, to please contact P.T.I., at 423-282-6834. You can visit the P.T.I. website.
 


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