Jan 29, 2015
Workshop Recap: Updating Emergency Procedures

Emergency care competencies was the topic of an advanced track workshop at the Meeting. “Update on Emergency Care Procedures New to the Competencies” covered several informational pieces, then allowed attendees a chance to practice new skills in the lab portion of the presentation.
The workshop was led by Ron Courson, ATC, PT, NREMT-I, CSCS, Director of Sports Medicine at the University of Georgia; Glen Henry, MA, EMT-P, Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic Program Chair at Athens Technical College; Philip Young, ATC, Assistant Athletic Trainer at Georgia; and David Berry, PhD, ATC, EMT, Associate Professor of Kinesiology at Saginaw Valley State University.

“This year, some of the biggest changes to the athletic training education competencies from NATA were under acute care,” Berry says. “These competencies are the basic skills we use during an emergency situation, so it’s important to be updated in case someone develops a sudden illness, goes into cardiac arrest, or has some sort of diabetic emergency.”

The presentation was split with lecture materials covered in the first two hours, followed by a two-hour lab. “The majority of the time was spent reviewing these skills,” Berry says. “One of the big topics that we discussed was rectal thermometers and their use relative to athletes suffering from a heat-related illness such as exertional heat stroke. We discussed issues with their use and privacy, and then attendees practiced using the thermometers with mannequins.

“Another thing we looked at were some airway management strategies related to the use of oropharyngeal airways and nasopharyngeal airways,” he continues. “We talked about different strategies and participants practiced inserting different airway devices. Then we reviewed the application and utilization of emergency or supplemental oxygen and how it works in conjunction with utilizing a bag-valve mask during resuscitation.”

Attendees also had the chance to ask questions and discuss various concerns they had regarding emergency care. One concern raised by several participants was what to do when equipment or devices are not available.

“Our response was that if we look at the competencies, a lot of the additions were driven from the current NATA business statement, along with what’s currently available,” Berry says. “And essentially when a lawyer looks at the statement in the event of a potential lawsuit following a traumatic accident, we want to be able to show that the standards of care were followed. If the best available evidence shows that we either didn’t have the equipment needed, or we didn’t act appropriately according to our guidelines, the potential for fallout is substantial. I think the most important thing is preparation–it’s all about sitting down and reviewing the NATA position statement. That’s our gold standard for care.”

Along with these pointers, Berry stressed the importance of having an emergency care plan, and working it out with the facility’s medical staff, local EMS personnel, and the local emergency departments. “It’s not a turf war,” Berry says. “It’s about trying to provide the highest quality inter-professional healthcare for athletes to assure positive outcomes.”

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