Sports Emergencies

April 15, 2013

Recent talk on sports injuries seem to revolve around concussions and traumatic brain injury. Last week I posed the question on my Facebook and on Twitter asking if we were concentrating on concussions too much? On Twitter I was met with some comments of disbelief I guess and people were quick to point out the dangers of concussions. I understand the risks and dangers of concussions. It’s something I’m very passionate about and one of the reasons I got into athletic training in the first place. BUT as a Certified Athletic Trainer, I cannot focus on concussions and forget about so many other emergencies that can occur in sports.

Athletic Trainers must be prepared for numerous emergencies and oftentimes we are the only healthcare providers onsite. Having the proper equipment is important, but having the skills and knowledge to use that equipment is crucial! We must be able to determine when something is an emergency or when it can be handled in a non-urgent manner. One example would be the concussion. A concussion is not something that we must panic about. We’ll treat it conservatively over the course of several days. But we first must recognize that it is a concussion and not something more significant like a subdural or epidural hematoma. Those must be treated emergently.

Athletic Trainers are trained to care for numerous emergencies. Some of those can include heat stroke, brain injuries, cardiovascular conditions, bone fractures and dislocations, and other neurological conditions. We cannot focus on just one, but need to be ready for all of them!

I discussed some of this in a previous post, but the list of emergency equipment is long. Here are the things that I have available to me when I am at the high school and on the sidelines.

  • Wound care supplies
  • AED and CPR mask
  • Facemask Remover (for football)
  • Crutches
  • Vacuum Splints
  • Oral pharyngeal airways
  • Knee immobilizer
  • Ice
  • Big tub (for heat stroke)

This is not an exhaustive list and I’m sure there are many items that would seem to be missing. I’m constantly looking to add more items as the budget allows. But I think we must recognize that being prepared for sports emergencies is EXPENSIVE. But what is one athlete’s life worth?

Every Athlete Deserves an Athletic Trainer


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