Sporting event emergencies are common among both spectators and players, with unique sets of challenges associated with patient extrication in unfamiliar and chaotic environments. It is critical for sports physicians and trainers to deliberately train and prepare for emergent situations with limited resources during athletic events. One of the most difficult, yet commonly encountered challenges is determining when and how to safely remove an injured player's helmet and sporting equipment, particularly if a spinal injury is highly suspected. We created a high-fidelity simulation case to practice the safe extrication of a hockey player who collapses on the bench in the player's box, a space-restricted environment. The patient is a 25-year-old male hockey player who becomes unresponsive after a syncopal episode in the player's box, and subsequently transferred to a medical center for further evaluation. Critical actions include extrication of the player at the scene, diagnosis of syncope, placement of the unconscious player on a backboard with cervical-spine precautions, removal of the player's faceguard, removing the player off the ice, checking the electrocardiogram and glucose level, and transferring the player to a controlled environment. The learning objectives were to identify, evaluate, and manage the reversible causes of syncope, and demonstrate appropriate techniques for the optimal removal of sports equipment. Learner assessment was based on participation in the scenario and debriefing learners after the simulation. Post-simulation debriefing revealed that participants highly appreciated practicing not-so-commonly encountered hockey-related emergencies. Athletic trainers and emergency providers were able to effectively practice their management of the unresponsive hockey player. The participants were also able to deliberately practice their teamwork and communications skills with their peers. Learning points include proper c-spine immobilization techniques in a tight space and indication for gear-removal in an unconscious patient. As hockey continues to gain popularity, this simulation case will prepare athletic trainers and emergency providers to better address the reversible causes for syncope in hockey players, as well as safely and effectively extricate injured players from space-limiting sporting environments.
Recommended CitationAbrams, Meryl; Papanagnou, Dimitrios; Rodriguez, Carlos; Rudner, Joshua; Lee, Hyunjoo; Buttar, Simran; Hall, Ronald V; and Zhang, Xiao Chi, "Ice-man Down: Using Simulation to Practice the Safe Extrication of Collapsed Hockey Players in a Confined Space." (2018). Department of Emergency Medicine Faculty Papers. Paper 188.
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