Medical professionals have long known what the general public is becoming increasingly aware of. Football is a dangerous sport.
Even before studies starting coming out on an annual basis, detailing the risks of head injuries in football, medical professionals have staffed football games at the professional, collegiate and even high school level.
But even with years of practice, and endless hours of study, the medical professionals in charge of keeping athletes safe continue to put in extra hours to stay prepared.
Thursday, Sept. 12, Paul Hansen, an athletic trainer with NovaCare, organized a hands-on training session with local paramedics.
They gathered behind the CentraCare Health clinic and went to work on backboarding two football players that the Magic sent over, wearing helmets, to give the medics an accurate, hands-on experience.
“Reading it in a book tells you one thing,” said Hansen, who is on the field at all Magic home football games. “But putting your hands on it and doing it makes a big difference.”
Local professionals get plenty of general backboarding experience from car crashes, falls and other incidents, but having to backboard an athlete is much more rare. And it can present unique challenges, as the medics learned when they struggled to find the best way to remove the face mask off the football helmets.
They were also reminded recently that just because they’ve been fortunate to not have many dangerous situations arise on the football field in Monti, doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. When a Dassel-Cokato player went down with a major head injury in early September, it served as a reminder that even in a small town, at a high school game, they have to be prepared to handle dangerous injuries from a dangerous game.
“That really brought it [back] to the forefront,” said Hansen, who pointed out that they’d scheduled Thursday’s training session even before that incident.
While it is impossible for the medics to know when they might be in that situation, going through training allows them to know they’re prepared.
Doing it Thursday, in the friendly confines of a parking lot, allowed them to go through the trials on a sunny day with no pressure rather than under the lights when every second counts.
“When one of our kids is on the ground, we want to make sure we have all of our ducks in a row,” said Hansen.