“Towing the Line”

“Towing the Line”
Jim Mackie MEd, ATC, LAT
How many times have you broke with protocol to do your job? That question was raised to an audience of EMS, Athletic Trainers, and Physicians at a recent lecture and training session in spine boarding and airway management. The answer was not surprising… “every day”. Yes, it was in the context of saving a life or managing an emergency. Though there is a way to do it, sometimes as was said “you do what you have to do at the time.”

In our digital world we are quick to judge the actions of others like removing a football helmet and yet we do not know the whole picture. In one case it was because it was totally twisted around the head so what would you do? There’s no airway in the back of the head, right?

One thing constant is change and many are concerned about what’s going to happen with our packaged athlete once they get to the Emergency Department and their equipment is removed. What is they suffered a Cardiac Arrest in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and there are only 2-3 people on board, one being the driver? How are you going to get through all the straps and put AED pads on? Wouldn’t it make sense to remove it on the field at the time of packaging the athlete? When you have more people to assist and who know how it goes on and off. A good suggestion was made to always check the other teams equipment as you may be the only Athletic Trainer present and are trained and familiar with most products. The NATA Inter-association task force for pre-hospital care of the spine injured athlete is useful and hopefully under revision. Regardless, do we must do what we believe is in the athletes best interest. Something I will think long and hard about as we approach another school year. What are your thoughts?

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