HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – Athletic trainers and medical staff were quick to respond Monday night to the collapse of Buffalo Bills defensive back Dummer Hamlin after suffering cardiac arrest. The importance of athletic trainers and the emergency action plans they have in place were emphasized.

Athletic trainers of all levels have plans like this, and medical teams at local high schools and colleges are always prepared for situations like Monday night.

“We want every facility, every field or court we are in so that we know what will happen, what will happen and who will do what if a catastrophic event occurs. These EAPs typically practice and rehearse every year, which is part of the pre-season service for various teams, especially football, where more body and space is needed. because there is.”

Powers has over 30 years of experience as an athletic trainer for JMU, Bridgewater College and local high school teams around the Valley. He is also the former president of the Virginia He Athletic He Trainers Association. He talked about how trainers deal with these kinds of emergencies.

“We spend 80% of our time training 20% ​​of the time that we can. With that team that was on the field last night, everyone had a role. Everyone knew their role and how to perform,” he said.

According to Powers, medical teams at all sports games plan down to the smallest detail for emergencies to maximize response time.

“Most athletic trainers do what they call a ‘medical minute’ before a match. We were sitting and talking about who was going where, who was going to what, who was in charge of the gate, who was unlocking this, who was meeting the ambulance, everything. All of these are put into practice before the match takes place,” he said.

Especially in soccer, athletic trainers try to work with coaches during the season to make sure players are as safe as possible.

“We sit down and look at the injury trends on the team and talk to the coaches and say, ‘Hey, we have a high injury rate of this and it’s happening during this particular exercise or drill. What’s going on here?’ Is there anything we can do to change that? How can we mitigate this risk?” said Powers.

Powers said cardiac arrest incidents like Hamlin’s are not common in sports, but athletic trainers carry AEDs and are prepared for emergencies.

“I’ve been blessed with one thing that happened right in front of my eyes in my 30+ year career. There was an athletic trainer out there who didn’t go into cardiac arrest if I didn’t address it immediately, and what to do?” There were many incidents that could have happened if we hadn’t dealt with them immediately,” he said. .

Powers said cardiac arrest isn’t always instantaneous, as it was in Hamlin’s case, and there are often warning signs. He said there are known conditions where contact can cause cardiac arrest, but it’s unclear if that’s what happened to Hamlin.


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