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Personnel Encouraged To Prepare For Fall Sports Season

On the eve of football season, the eyes of the nation are turning to the gridiron.  And while many high school students, coaches, and sports fans are focused on how the local team can win the next game or make it all the way to the state championship, there’s a large contingent focused on how the game can be made safer.

A new report takes a look at the efforts of the director of Emergency Medical Services at a hospital in West Virginia to improve safety through the use of a pre-game checklist.  His method, which is known as Medical Time Out, will be put in place at select counties in West Virginia.  Basically, he’s attempting to make sure that every school is ready to go should an emergency take place on the field.

That can be accomplished by having emergency plans of action in place and having the right gear ready to go when some sort of medical issue arises.  The method was implemented at Concorde University, and now the doctor wants emergency officials and medical response teams to be prepared at the high school level as well.

The idea is to bring together everyone who’s going to be available who may have a hand in safety to go over a pre-game checklist.  About a half hour before the game, such persons as team doctors, athletic trainers, and other relevant personnel would meet to review what should occur when an injury takes place.

These personnel are first asked to verify that all potentially life-saving equipment is in place.  An automated external defibrillator, for instance, can be used to revive an athlete or even someone in the stands who suffers cardiac arrest (the doctor points out that small town sports venues mark the most likely place for a resident of such communities to suffer a heart attack).  Various medical tools, including a special screwdriver that can be used to take a player’s face mask off of the helmet when a concussion incident is suspected, should also be checked, as should something like a backboard and other gear.

Personnel also need to be on the same page as to the steps to take when an emergency occurs:  who does what, how an athlete or spectator will be transported, where the ambulance or airlift needs to pull up.  The doctor putting together this program also wants to see hand signals be memorized so that responders can go into action without worrying parents and other spectators with shouts of panic.

Preventing injury is ideal, but when all the precautions in the world still don’t help, speedy reaction and recovery efforts are the next best thing.


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