The Yellowknife Minor Fastball Association says it’s investigating a breach of players’ medical information after documents, including health care card numbers and guardian contact information, wound up at the city’s dump.
Medical records – including full names, birth dates and emergency contacts – believed to belong to participants of last year’s baseball season, which runs from May to June, were discovered at the Yellowknife dump by a local reporter earlier this week, association president Kristal Melanson told Yellowknifer in an email on Tuesday.
“At this point, we believe the information was contained in team rosters that are shared with coaches at the beginning of each season to ensure they have the information required to respond in the event of a medical emergency,” stated Melanson.
Children between the ages of three and 16 play in the league.
The association collected the information, which was then distributed to coaches and assistant coaches to ensure coaching staff, who are all volunteers, had “any information they may need to respond to emergency situations,” stated Melanson.
On Monday, several media sources reported the association had no reason to believe the information had been “compromised.”
Asked whether or not this was still the belief on Tuesday, a direct answer wasn’t provided, but Melanson stated it’s believed “the hard-copy documents were picked up shortly after they were disposed of at the dump.”
Melanson did not say how many players were affected by the breach, but she said a thorough review will be conducted. She said the association will be contacting the parents of players’ “directly impacted,” by the data breach.
A statement was released to all registrants immediately after the association was alerted of the breach on Monday, she added.
After all impacted parties are contacted, the documents will be disposed of “properly,” stated Melanson.
It’s unclear at this time how exactly the medical documents ended up at the dump, but Melanson told Yellowknifer the breach came on the heels of a “major” clean-up at the association’s equipment shed over the weekend.
“It is possible that this information was improperly disposed of at that time,” she stated.
The breach, which board members are taking “very seriously,” she added, could spell changes to how the fastball association handles its players’ sensitive information.
“The board will be examining all policies and practices related to the storage and disposal of player information in the coming days,” stated Melanson.
Coaching staff will also be offered “guidance” on how to store and dispose of data “once the season is complete.”
A review and revamping of policies is expected to take up to a month to complete, at which time parents and guardians will be notified of any changes.
In September, prior to the breach, board members decided not to collect player health care numbers for the next season, as the need to have that information in the event of an emergency was deemed non-essential following an annual review.
The Yellowknife Minor Fastball Association will continue to reach out to parents impacted by the breach in the coming days, stated Melanson.