he Mercyhurst University Athletic Training staff joined the Erie Otters sports medicine staff, UPMC and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine team physicians, and EmergyCare on Sept. 4 to conduct an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) specific to ice hockey. The ambulances usedduring the day were provided by EmergyCare.
Andy Simon-Wambach, director of Athletic Training Services, and Steve Reinhardt, athletic trainer, represented Mercyhurst at the Erie Insurance Arena.
“We are all the sports medicine people that care for the hockey team specifically, also our football team here,” Simon-Wambach said. “We have physicians and ambulances at all the hockey games and at football games, so getting everyone together that will be working with one another throughout the year that does it on a daily basis.”
At the EAP, Simon-Wambach and Reinhardt were also there to discuss the best practices in medical emergencies. These are basic practices at Mercyhurst compared to specific practices to the Erie Insurance Arena, the home ice for the Erie Otters.
“It was just discussing different ways that the Otters do it and we do it here, making sure EmergyCare knew both ways because they are going to be the ones at all the games,” said Reinhardt.
The sports medicine workers wanted everyone in the Erie sports scene to get on the same page and discuss medical emergency practices because of the specific nature of injuries and protection for each sport.
There are two different approaches of taking care of an injured athlete in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) compared with caring for an athlete playing Division One college hockey.
“With the Erie Otters, you know they prefer to get the person off the ice as soon as possible because thousand of peoples in the stands are watching. They want to get them somewhere warm. While with us at Mercyhurst, it is easier for us to use their equipment if we need to spine board someone right on the ice,” Reinhardt said.
When Simon-Wambach was at the EAP rehearsal, he learned something interesting.
“The Otters play in the Ontario Hockey League. It was kind of interesting to learn the differences in Canadian sports medicine and American sports medicine and combining those into what we want to do and what they want to do. And taking pieces of what we liked from the Canadian practices and the American practices and bringing them together,” Simon-Wambach said.
By completing this EAP rehearsal, there were benefits to both student athletes and athletic trainers.
“It is most beneficial to the student athletes in the long run,” Simon-Wambach said. “And that is what it’s all about, our job, were hired to take care of them. So if they get injured, there is a emergency situation possibly being able to rehearse this and know exactly what we are doing.”
The athletic trainers for the men’s and women’s hockey teams have an important job to do, but they are now more prepared thanks to the valuable information they gained from attending the EAP rehearsal.