Better Together

February 2, 2018

In York County, S.C., athletic trainers are working with emergency responders to coordinate injury treatment standards in case of emergency. The goal is to have both sides be able to handle sports-related injuries together.

“We’re making sure we are doing everything in the best interest of the athlete,” Anna Adams, ATC, Associate Athletic Trainer for York (S.C.) Comprehensive High School, told The Herald (Rock Hill, S.C.). 

The newspaper reports that the initiative started after a middle school football player suffered a concussion during an October game and was unconscious for more than 20 minutes. The seventh grader was airlifted to a local hospital because of his injuries.

The incident spurred discussions between athletic trainers and emergency personnel. Although athletic training and emergency response have similarities, there are some differences in handling emergencies that needed to be addressed.

“It identified some areas of weakness we needed to sit down and talk about,” said Kimberly Bressler,  MAEd, ATC, Head Athletic Trainer for Clover (S.C.) High School.

“Our techniques are different from what [the athletic trainers are] taught,” explained Tom Howard, Assistant Chief of Operations for Piedmont Emergency Medical Services (EMS). “They didn’t understand what we do, and we didn’t really understand what they do. The two paths are finally going to intersect, and I think it will be a much better working relationship in the future.”

On Dec. 4, athletic trainers from York County met with area EMS to discuss protocols for treating emergencies on the field. The two groups will meet again in February to focus on spinal immobilization techniques and proper equipment removal.

“It’s an opportunity for us to finally get to know one another,” Howard said. “We’re in parallel fields, but the fields mesh together when it comes to patient care for these kids.”

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