COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Quick action and experienced athletic trainers can mean the difference between life and death.
Buffalo Bils safety Damar Hamlin received several crucial minutes of CPR after going into cardiac arrest during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. High school athletic trainers in Central Ohio say they have an emergency plan tailored to each athlete’s needs.
These athletic trainers are curating plans for about 500 athletes. At the high school level, they have a much smaller response team than the NFL, but they say their plans are just as thought out and effective.
“We try to plan ahead for what could happen today and are we prepared to manage it,” said Ohio Health Athletic Trainer Chris Troyer. Troyer is one of the two athletic trainers at Dublin Scioto High School. He said they have a plan for every scenario.
They rehearse these plans at least once every season since the players may vary each season. He said it is a collaborative effort between Ohio Health ATs, Dublin Scioto Staff and Coaches as well as Washington Township EMS.
“It might look a little different if something happens in our main gym versus our auxiliary gym versus our stadium,” said Nick Magistrale, the Athletic Director at Dublin Scioto.
Troyer said there’s a plan for if an athlete or spectator goes into cardiac arrest.
“We have permanent AED stationed around the building and also outside at our athletic venues,” Troyer said. “We follow the American Heart Association’s guidelines on recognizing it early, getting EMS summoned and on the way and then starting CPR and getting the AED to the athlete or the coach or whoever needs it.”
He said they also have to think about situations like if a kid is a diabetic or if they are asthmatic.
“If they have an issue arise during that even if it is not considered to be life threatening at the time it can evolve,” Troyer said.
But most importantly, Troyer said everyone needs to be on the same page.
“We do what we call a medical time out prior to the start of the event where we incorporate the Ems, the physicians, the visiting team’s athletic trainer and the head coaches and talk about if something happens tonight here’s how this will go,” Troyer said.
The athletic staff at Dublin Scioto said the plan is specific down to the door EMS will enter through.
“They designated a numbering system for all the different entrances into the building which is very helpful. If you call and there is an emergency they’ll say what entrance, entrance number 25,” Magistrale said.
They say their students have always been thankful.
But with-it being heart disease awareness month and after Hamlin’s incident two months ago, the appreciation is even greater.
“The day after that event I had several students come in and say, ‘hey Chris did you see what happened,” Troyer said. “it was nice to get a little recognition but for us it’s just reassurance to them that we are trying to provide just as safe of an environment for your child as Damar Hamlin has on that NFL sideline.”
Ohio Health athletic trainers are at 95 high schools across Ohio as well as seven universities. They are also the medical providers for the Columbus Blue Jackets and Columbus Crew.
They say all coaches are also CPR certified, trained to handle a concussion as well as other certifications.