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Spine Injury Training for First Responders

Throughout the summer, UPMC Sports Medicine held informational sessions to educate emergency providers and athletic training staff about proper techniques and equipment to treat athletes with spinal cord injuries on the field, particularly football players and other equipment-intensive athletes. 

About the Workshops 

The sessions taught first responders how to properly deal with athletes' protective equipment and gear in the event of a spine or head injury. Knowing the proper techniques for handling the equipment when assessing an injured athlete is key in preventing additional injury or complications. Emergency providers and athletic training personnel also became familiar with existing and newly-available protective football equipment.

The educational workshops also stressed the importance of communication and teamwork when an athlete is injured. 

About the Presenters

The training sessions were held by the EMS and Pre-Hospital Care Committee, a group established in 2009, to educate responders. The group also works to create standardized protocols between certified athletic trainers and emergency staff when dealing with equipment-intensive sports.

“With a focus on our communities, one of the goals of our outreach sessions is to encourage the relationship between certified athletic trainers and EMTs, and foster cooperation between responders,” said Philip Hensler, ATC, coordinator and co-presenter of the training sessions.

Upcoming Workshops

Looking ahead to the summer of 2014, the committee hopes to provide more of these workshops in various locations throughout western Pennsylvania.

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