The importance of safety measures for student athletes: MCSD, Phenix City Schools weigh in

Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 12:18 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Recent events surrounding the NFL player Damar Hamlin’s health scare at a game earlier this week has area students and athletic leaders reacting to the news.

Millions of people were watching Monday night’s NFL game as the Buffalo Bill’s player went into cardiac arrest, collapsing and was resuscitated on the field.

News Leader 9 spoke with two area school systems about what policies are in place if something similar were to happen to a student athlete in our area.

“Initially, when he went down, you don’t think cardiac arrest,” said Associate Athletic Director for Phenix City Schools, Danielle Mason. “Luckily the medical team saw what was happening and acted very quickly.”

Area medical professionals and school athletic staff continuing to stress the importance of student safety on the field or on the court.

Even people like Piedmont Clinical Educator, Daphne Register, recommends people know and learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR.

“If the heart has stopped and a person has no pulse, what we’re trying to do is get that heart beating again,” said Register.

Muscogee County and Phenix City Schools are using an emergency action plan or EAP as a guide in an emergency. While also adhering to state guidelines.

“Muscogee County School District does a great job of educating us,” said Hardaway High School Athletic Director Kendall Mills. “Every coach is offered a CPR course, every school has an emergency action plan on site.”

“These are written documents that are coaching staff and things practice and know their role,” said Mason. “Who stays with our student athlete, who calls 911.”

Both school districts maintaining AED’s at schools and at games, while also having athletic trainers on hand to prevent and respond to injuries.

“Preventative infers stretching and proper form for each sport while reactive immediate care, immediate injury response,” said Hardaway High School Athletic Trainer Jessica Hutzel.

Both districts say staff education is yearly and EAP’s are updated annually.

Helping make sure coaches and staff can be successful in helping an athlete like in Hamlin’s case.

“Because of their quick action it saved his life,” said Mason.

The American Heart Association and the American Red Cross both offer Basic Life Support courses.