Jan 29, 2015
Pre-Show Primer: Prepared for the Worst

On Monday morning, Syracuse University Assistant Director of Athletics for Sports Medicine Tim Neal, MS, ATC, will lead a minicourse titled “Mental and Practical Readiness in Managing Athletic Emergencies” to kick off the Convention’s educational programming. Here’s a look at what Neal will be covering in his minicourse.

While emergencies in the athletic setting rarely occur, they have a major impact on the student-athlete victim, and a rippling effect upon their family, teammates, coaches, and institution. Having a plan to manage an emergency in athletics is an important responsibility of the athletic trainer. However, merely having a plan for an emergency does not always ensure readiness when an emergency occurs.

The critical element in effectively managing emergencies in the athletic setting is the practical and mental preparation of the professional on the scene of the athletic emergency–the athletic trainer. The goal of this minicourse is to discuss the intangibles necessary to effectively anticipate and manage emergencies by the athletic trainer.

This is an important topic for athletic trainers to hear about because it’s not about reinventing the wheel of an emergency action plan in athletics, but rather introducing considerations in strengthening the spokes of that wheel to ensure the student-athlete, coach, staff member, or official stricken by an emergency are given the best opportunity to survive a life-threatening emergency.

The highlights of this minicourse include:

• How the athletic trainer mentally prepares each day for emergency care
• Practical steps in preparing your staff and the field to be ready for emergencies
• Making “common sense a common virtue” in preparing for emergency response through the importance of awareness, vigilance, and daily checking of emergency equipment which can make all the difference when minutes count
• Using resources like mentors, experts, and recent events to learn from and to be better prepared
• How to encourage athletic training staffs to work as a team through proper attention and anticipation of events during games, but more importantly at practices and conditioning sessions where emergencies often occur
• The “rippling effect” that preparedness has on victims by giving them another chance at life

This minicourse is designed for any athletic trainer in attendance. It is useful for the athletic training student who is learning about this important component of our profession, the entry level athletic trainer who wishes to be better prepared for an event they may not yet have experienced, the head athletic trainer looking for ways to improve the preparedness of their staffs, and the program director looking to incorporate these considerations into their curriculum to better prepare future athletic trainers. While it is important to have an emergency action plan in place, it is critical for the athletic trainer to adopt an attitude of preparedness by developing the intangibles discussed in this minicourse to effectively implement the emergency action plan in athletics.

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