What your EAP should include:
- Site-specific procedures including communication
- Site-specific equipment locations
- Locations of easily accessible AED’s
- Emergency phone numbers
- Facility maps, street addresses and directions posted to guide the EMS
Suggestions for policies and practices that will ensure your EAP is effective:
- Registering each AED with the local EMS
- Provide checks of emergency equipment before each scheduled athletic event
- Review of the EAP with coaches and administrators before the start of each sports season
- Scheduled practice with your staff each sports season with full or partial simulations
- Intentional mentally practice weekly as literature shows vicarious rehearsal can help us prepare for an emergency just as well as physical practice (check out this TED talk of vicarious rehearsal https://youtu.be/lT_rF0NqRnI)
The best-practice recommendations continue by describing athletic training services, catastrophic brain and neck injuries, conditioning sessions, heat stroke, sudden cardiac arrest and sickling. The guidelines provided in this document are unique in that they are specific to the high school aged population and should be reviewed and considered by all secondary school athletic trainers. The NATA website also offers several position statements that address these specific conditions. It may be an easy slope to slide when we begin to stop reading, reviewing and practicing EAP’s in the midst of the busy athletic training life. However, the EAP is a critical piece in our ability to provide the best possible care to our patients.
It is equally a responsibility of our profession to reach a new population as it is to minimize the risk for our current patients. So, I encourage all secondary school athletic trainers to create mock scenarios and simulations for you, your students, the faculty and your local emergency response teams to participate in. I challenge athletic trainers to review policy/procedure manuals, memorize EAP’s, enforce AED access and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Our Presence is only as valuable as Our Preparation.
Resources to learn more!
- Jamie Nikander, LAT, ATC
1. Kucera K, Klossner D, Colgate B, Cantu R. Annual Survey of Football Injury Research National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill;2015.
2. Casa DJ, J A, SA A, L B, MF B. The inter-association task force for preventing sudden death in secondary school athletics programs: best-practices recommendations. J Athl Train. 2013;48(4):546-553.
3. Casa DJ, Drezner JA. Moving forward faster: the quest to apply evidence-based emergency practice guidelines in high school sports. J Athl Train. 2015;50(4):341-342.