Athletic Training Students Work with Local EMTs for Better Treatment of Sports Injuries
FSC's Athletic Training students train Lakeland first-responders in the best practices for dealing with sports injuries
LAKELAND (Nov. 16, 2010) -- FSC's Athletic Training students have been doing a different kind of training this semester: They're teaching Lakeland firefighters the best way to treat sports injuries.
Through a relationship with 1994 FSC alumnus Lt. Matt Brown, a lieutenant paramedic for Lakeland Fire Department and the SWAT medic coordinator for Lakeland Police Department, the students in Sue Stanley-Green's Athletic Training class have received invaluable hands-on experience this semester, including organizing a conference that gave the city's EMTs an overview of athletic training.
Earlier this semester, Brown brought a few SWAT team members to Green's class. SWAT team members have to be very physically active and many of them suffer knee and back injuries. The students practiced assessing their injuries and demonstrated exercises to strengthen the injured area.
Brown also has arranged for the students to go on "ride-alongs" with EMTs so they can learn what happens after an injured person is transported to the hospital. Because of their ride-along experiences, several of the students now plan to pursue the EMT certification.
But the highlight of the semester was a conference titled "Emergency Care of the Athlete: The Team Approach." The two-hour session was presented to more than 120 firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics. Topics included the work of an athletic trainer, heat illnesses, lightning safety, concussions, cervical spine injuries, and sports equipment.
"It was really important to teach them what an athletic trainer is trained to do so that when they arrive on a scene, they will know what we've done," said Stanley-Green. "For example, we would have assessed whether there was a cervical injury before we called for an ambulance. Athletic trainers are like MASH medics; we decide whether we can treat an injury, whether it is beyond our scope, and whether a person needs to be admitted (to the hospital)."
Brown said the EMTs found the conference extremely helpful. "We are taught about athletic injuries in school, but we have not had a lot of continuing education, so this was a great refresher course," he said.
The students said preparing to present the material was also beneficial. "We learned a lot," said senior Megan Crouch. "To teach someone, you really have to study more yourself."
If the Athletic Training students ever doubted the benefits of the training, they certainly were believers after the Nov. 5 football game between Lakeland High and George Jenkins High. When a Jenkins player took a hard hit that left him motionless on the field, FSC students working on the sidelines rushed to his side and put him on a back board. When EMTs arrived, they asked who the athletic trainers were and followed their advice.
Although EMTs who deal with many more motorcycle accidents than football injuries are taught to remove helmets before putting an injured person on a back board, athletic trainers know to leave football helmets on, because otherwise the bulky safety pads a player wears would throw the player's spine out of alignment.
"The crew that responded said it was nice because they knew the athletic training class members and knew they had already assessed the situation. They respected each other's judgment," Brown said.