The type and degree of event or practice coverage by the sports medicine staff for an athletic event or practice may vary widely, based on such factors as the sport or activity, the venue, and the number of teams competing. During in-season practice and competition on campus, the first responder to an emergency situation will typically be a certified athletic trainer from the sports medicine staff. However, during the non-traditional season or other out of season times, the first responder would more likely be a coach, bystander, or other institutional personnel.
In the case of an emergency occurring during a practice or game, a certified athletic trainer, will be responsible for implementing emergency procedures with the assistance of first responders and the team's coach(es). These procedures have been designed with the assumption that a certified athletic trainer will be present when an emergency occurs.
If an emergency would occur at a time when a certified athletic trainers is not present, the coach or a first responder more qualified in emergency care is responsible for implementing the emergency procedures. EMS should be activated immediately while the athlete is being stabilized. If the athlete is not breathing and/or has no pulse begin CPR procedures. A certified athletic trainer should be quickly located and directed to the athlete. When a team travels for competition, it is the responsibility of the athletic trainer or the coach (if no athletic trainer) to become familiar with the host's emergency care procedures.
Communication and Transportation
Communication is the key to quick delivery of emergency care in situations of serious injury to an athlete. If an ambulance is not on-site during a particular sporting event, then access to a phone for direct communication with the emergency medical system at the time of injury or illness is essential. When activating EMS take the following steps:
- Dial 911
- Give your name, your location, and number you are calling from
- Specific directions to the emergency scene
- Number of athletes involved
- Condition of athlete(s)
- First aid being administered
- Other information requested by the dispatcher
- Let the dispatcher hang up first
An ambulance will be on-site for all home varsity football games. DePauw University coordinates on-site ambulance service with Operation Life Emergency Services in Greencastle, Indiana. Ambulance services may also be coordinated for other special events (NCAC / NCAA). In the event that an ambulance is on-site, it’s location during the event will be pre-determined.