BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) – Damar Hamlin’s injury put a spotlight on emergency responses at sporting events. Although we see and hear about serious injuries and incidents like Hamlin’s more in the world of professional sports, it also happens at the youth level.
According to the Mayo Clinic, between 1 in 50,000 and 1 in 80,000 young athletes die from sudden cardiac arrest each year. According to Stanford Medicine, more than 1 in 5 traumatic brain injuries in children in the US are linked to sports and recreational activities.
According to the State Department of Education, New York coaches must be at least certified in emergency first aid, CPR and AED. D’Youville University organized a special training session to help youth sports coaches learn the skills they need to respond to life-threatening situations.
During the course, the high speed of thinking and decision-making of coaches and trainers was put to the test.
“There’s always somebody that ends up on the ground after a hit or after getting hit with a shot or something,” D’Youville boys lacrosse coach Jack Wilson said. “They’ll get up 9 times out of 10, but that second or two is scary and it’s something we all have to be prepared for.”
In an effort to keep the lives of high school and college athletes safe during emergencies, D’Youville University has partnered with Sports Medicine Concepts to offer a “Life-Saving Core4 Workout.”
“A lot of times the training coaches and TAs get is about CPR, AED, emergency action plans, but not really hands-on experience with traumatic injuries,” said Ona Halladay, executive director of Athletics and Intercollegiate Recreation.
The coaches and trainers went through a series of 10-minute simulations where it was all hands on deck. They were forced to communicate and assess injuries on the field.
A big part of Core4 Training is making coaches and trainers aware of the importance of clear communication when dealing with life-threatening conditions such as cervical spine injuries, isolated head trauma, trauma to the trunk and cardiac arrest.
“For me personally, I probably annoy my athletic trainers too much and having too much dialogue with my coach Cat, it’s great,” Wilson said. “It’s just too easy for me to have a great relationship with them and be 100% working on the same page at all times. That makes it really easy and it’s a bunch of great friends too.”
While the pros at Sports Medicine Concepts said most of these simulations represent the 1% of injuries these coaches and trainers will never see, Hamlin’s recent injury is a reminder to never say never when it comes to heart trauma at any level of the game.
“Unfortunately, injuries like cardiac arrest happen a lot in little league, a lot in men’s and women’s lacrosse, a lot in hockey,” Halladay said. “People don’t really talk about it. We saw it happen in football on the national stage, but it happens pretty consistently in youth sports and nobody is trained to handle it.”
However, after Monday night’s training, everyone who attended Core4 Training knows how to do it.
“I’d rather do all the training I need than have to call someone’s parents with bad news,” Wilson said.