Oct 14, 2016
Shielded From View

When an athlete gets injured during a game, all eyes are on them. Coaches, teammates, and fans in the stands follow their every move on the sideline as the athletic training staff examines them. Combined with the fear and anxiety the athlete is already feeling from the injury, it puts them under a lot of stress.

In order to address this issue, the Ohio State University football team has added a scarlet and gray medical tent to its sideline. Debuting at the Buckeyes’ season opener against Bowling Green State University, the tent allows medical evaluations to take place away from the public eye. 

“There’s no special equipment inside the tent,” Alexis Shaw, a spokesperson for the team’s sports medicine physicians, told The Lantern. “Players are just brought there for a private assessment before determining whether they will be put back on the field or taken out of the game.”

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Before the tent popped up, athletic trainers examined injured Ohio State players on sideline training tables. Both the athlete and medical staff were in plain view for everybody watching the game and almost always attracted unwanted attention from the abundance of cameras and sideline reporters.

The move to include a medical tent this season is also part of the football program’s effort to stay up to date with national trends. The University of Alabama football team began using a similar tent during the 2015 season, which Training & Conditioning covered earlier this year. Jeff Allen, MS, ATC, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine and Head Football Athletic Trainer for the Crimson Tide, came up with the idea, and a group of mechanical engineering students at the school brought it to fruition. Now, their model is being used by at least 29 college football programs, as well as the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.

“These sideline tents are relatively new to football stadiums,” said Jerry Emig, a spokesperson for the Ohio State football team. “We do like to stay contemporary and at the forefront with regard to the resources we are able to provide our student-athletes.”

Ohio State expects to use the tent for the remainder of the 2016 season. If the team sees the same results Allen did with Alabama’s tent, it will prove to be a worthwhile investment.

“I knew the tent would help with privacy, but I never thought it would help players’ emotional state,” he told T&C. “I’ve seen a big change in their demeanor during evaluations. There’s nobody watching them or yelling their name, so they calm down quicker, and they’re more relaxed, which allows us to get a better idea of what their injury is.

“We’ve also found it to be very beneficial when testing for concussions,” Allen added. “They are incredibly difficult to assess on the sidelines because of all the distractions. You still have the noise factor in the tent, but everything else is blocked out, so you can get a better evaluation.”

The Ohio State medical tent was manufactured by Kinematic Sports, LLC, located in Tuscaloosa, Ala.  For more information on the company’s tents, visit www.kinematicsports.com.

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