WEST JEFFERSON — A presentation sponsored through Wake Forest University was held to educate coaching staff, athletic trainers and first responders on the best ways to treat injured players on game day.

Ashe County Rescue Squad, ACHS coaching staff and Athletic Director Director David Koontz attended the presentation on Thursday, Aug. 1, held by Jeff Hinshaw and Donnie Martin, to better understand the best approach for addressing an injured player.

Hinshaw works as a physician’s assistant in the emergency department of Wake Forest Baptist Hospital, and specializes in prehospital care and sports medicine. During the presentation, Hinshaw talked about the importance of having a strategic plan for handling injured players, coordinated between first responders, athletic trainers and high school staff.

“When you talk to people before bad things happen, it goes better,” Hinshaw said.

On the football field, Hinshaw talked about the problems athletic trainers and first responders encounter due to players’ equipment — most notably, the facemask. Hinshaw said that, although people assume the removal of a facemask means a player is seriously injured, it should always be the first step when tending to an injured player.

Martin, who works in sports medicine at Starmount High School, also discussed new rules and regulations for high school sports this year. He said it is now required that athletic trainers hold a “timeout” before the start of the game to introduce one another and be aware of all medical personnel on the field.

Both Hinshaw and Martin emphasized the importance of having clear routes for emergency responders to travel in and out of the athletic facilities, citing examples of times when an EMS couldn’t make it into a game to transport an injured player out.

“Those are things you guys need to know, according to the emergency action plan, what’s the best route in and what’s the best route out,” Martin said, adding that the athletic director needs to make sure that the school resource officer keeps that route clear during the game.

Overall, the presentation showed how important communication is when tending to injured players.

“We need to realize that the equipment presents a problem, and that we need to function as a team,” Hinshaw said. “If we can function as a team, the care of that athlete gets even better.”

Both Brian Hampton, head coach of Vikings football, and Koontz said that the presentation was insightful. Chief Rob Blevins of Ashe County Rescue Squad was also in attendance, and ACRS worked with Hinshaw and Martin on the most efficient ways of handling an injured player before being transported to the hospital.

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