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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2008

Local emergency personnel to learn, practice care of spine-injured athletes at Wright State symposium in Kettering

Boonshoft School of Medicine, Greater Dayton Athletic Trainers Association sponsor inaugural annual event to prepare first responders for fall football season

DAYTON, Ohio-When a serious spinal injury occurs during a sporting event, providing timely, appropriate care can mean the difference between a full recovery and lifelong disability. Unfortunately, emergency personnel may not possess the specialized knowledge and skills to respond perfectly to these infrequent but extremely serious incidents.

A special event planned for June 14 at Kettering Fairmont High School aims to change that.

The Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine and the Greater Dayton Athletic Trainers Association (GDATA) have planned an Emergency Medical Services (EMS)/sports medicine symposium and practicum to teach local emergency personnel some of the newest and best ways to assess and treat athletes who become injured while competing.

The symposium, which will focus on spinal injuries to football players, is the first in a series of annual events dedicated to the pre-hospital care of acute athletic emergencies. Future events will likely focus on other sports and different types of injuries, according to Dr. Brian L. Springer, sports medicine director for Wright State's department of emergency medicine and the event's organizer.

"Some 10 percent of cervical spine injuries occur in athletes," Springer said, "and football has one of the highest incidence rates among all sports. While catastrophic injuries are relatively rare, the risk is still very real, and improving the effectiveness of pre-hospital care can make a tremendous difference."

In 1998, the National Athletic Trainer's Association (NATA) formed a task force to develop guidelines for managing catastrophic spine injuries in athletes. The task force consisted of representatives from more than 25 organizations, including the American Academy of Family Practice, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Surgeons, and National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.

At the symposium, organizers will review these guidelines with local emergency responders in an effort to help them provide the highest level of care for athletes in the Miami Valley. A series of lectures and demonstrations in the morning will be followed by individual and small group practice sessions in the afternoon.

Presenters will include several Wright State clinical faculty members, one of whom also serves on the Kettering Fire Department, and Robin Lensch, head athletic trainer at the high school. A number of Fairmont football players will take part in the afternoon sessions to allow participants to practice on fully outfitted athletes simulating realistic on-field scenarios.

Manufacturers Riddell and BoundTree Medical, co-sponsors of the event, are providing equipment so participants can learn about and practice with up-to-date athletic gear and medical equipment used by sports teams and care providers in our area.