Ron Courson, Executive Associate Athletic Director – Sports Medicine with the University of Georgia Athletic Association, recently shared with us his thoughts on the role of Emergency Action Plans (EAP) in helping athletic organizations prepare for injuries and other emergency situations.
Emergency situations may arise at any time during athletic events. Expedient action must be taken in order to provide the best possible care to the sport participant with emergency and life or limb threatening conditions. The development and implementation of an emergency plan will help ensure that the best care will be provided. Athletic organizations have a duty to develop an emergency plan that may be implemented immediately when necessary and to provide appropriate standards of emergency care to all sports participants. As athletic injuries may occur at any time and during any activity, the sports medicine team must be prepared. This preparation involves formulation of an emergency plan, proper coverage of events, maintenance of appropriate emergency equipment and supplies, utilization of appropriate emergency medical personnel, and continuing education in the area of emergency medicine and planning. Through careful pre-participation physical screenings, adequate medical coverage, safe practice and training techniques and other safety avenues, some potential emergencies may be averted. However, accidents and injuries are inherent with sports participation, and proper preparation on the part of the sports medicine team should enable each emergency situation to be managed appropriately.