Cleveland Clinic hosts catastrophic sports injury simulation

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UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio - Ahead of the rush of fall high school and collegiate sports, the Cleveland Clinic hosted a catastrophic sports injury simulation to better prepare for severe sports injuries.

"We always want to be prepared. You never know what's going to happen next and it rarely happens under ideal circumstances," said Dr. Tom Waters of the Cleveland Clinic.

About 80 athletic trainers, along with the clinic's sports health residents and fellows, gathered at John Carroll University for a catastrophic sports injury simulation training session at the university's baseball field.

"We run these simulations on how we're going to take care of athletes if they get injured," said Dr. Waters. "Especially the most serious injuries, like cardiac arrest, cervical spine injuries, back injuries so we basically practice just like the teams practice on the field."

Doctors say the critical outdoor, hands on training with high fidelity mannequins better equips those in attendance to learn how to treat a potential mid-game emergency.

"This helps us tremendously with simulating certain injuries so we can get better at doing what we're doing in the field," said Dr. Paul Saluan of the Cleveland Clinic. "These are once in a year type of injures maybe once in a career types of injuries but when they do happen they become dramatic. These are potentially life threatening injuries."

Thursday the group training learned how to handle a variety of emergency scenarios like an athlete's cardiac arrest, neck or back injury and concussion.

Don McPhillips, the head athletic trainer for the university says he has responded to sports emergencies on the road and during home games.

"We are usually the individuals that are first on site or at the athlete if they get injured on field during a game or during a practice," said McPhillips.

As the first line of defense, doctors and athletic trainers participating say the simulation is key to teaching them how to better respond when seconds count.

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