Hamlin’s injury highlights the importance of on-site medical workers

According to UT’s medical director of athletics, Hamlin’s injury highlights the importance of keeping medical professionals out of the game.

Austin (KXAN) – With every hit on the football field, you expect – and hope – that the athletes will get back on their feet. Allen Hardin and his medical team are present at every Longhorn game to make sure it’s true.

So when Hardin saw the Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin collapse during a Monday night game, it certainly set off anxiety and fear.

“It’s surreal to watch, knowing that this is the environment that I and my employees are in at a time that we’re prepared to handle,” Hardin said.

He thanks God that in his 26 years at UT and 10 years as chief medical officer for the Texas Athletics, he never had to deal with sudden cardiac arrest on the football field, even though he said they were willing to do so.

“An episode like this, I think, highlights the importance of the participation of medical professionals in all these events. And we take it for granted. But it certainly makes you think,” he said.

Hardin said they have about 10 medical workers on the pitch at every home game, which has increased significantly in recent years.

“The number of medical workers on the field, not only in football … in other sports and other venues has increased dramatically, probably doubled or tripled in the time that I was at UT,” he said.

He said that they each have their own role on the sidelines to make sure everyone gets up after the performance.

“We have an independent medical monitor in the press box who can call if he or she sees something they think we may have missed,” Hardin said.

Hardin said they also practice their contingency plan for practices and games at least once a year for each location.

He said that they use some technology to monitor sports results.

“A lot of this we can use to see how kids respond to training, how well they recover,” he explained.

But they do not yet have any special devices for monitoring the health of athletes.

“There are sensors in the helmet,” Hardin said. “We found that they are not as reliable as we expected or hoped for, mainly because a hit that may affect me in a certain way may not affect you. So it’s difficult to use these sensors as a device to track whether a person has or may not have a concussion.”

While Hardin and his team monitor the form on the field, the fans are monitored by a separate medical team.

This is where Dr. Ryan McCorkle and his medical team come into play.

“They stand there as if peering into the crowd. But also anyone in the crowd who says, ‘Hey, my friend passed out, my friend has chest pains, my friend’s breathing is fast,’ and the like,” said McCorkle, an ER doctor at St. David’s Medical Center. Center.

He also does the same at Austin FC games.

“When you have 100,000 people who play UT, or you know, 15,000 in the Austin FC Game, just the law of large numbers, you will have people who end up having emergency heart attacks and strokes and things like that. ,” he said.

McCorkle, who completed his medical residency at Buffalo Bills, said paramedics are posted throughout the station in almost every department.

Hardin said the athletes have their own paramedic team.

“Take them either to one of the care wards so one of the doctors who work on the games can help them, or take them straight to the hospital in an ambulance if something more serious happens,” McCorkle explained.

According to him, in case of cardiac arrest, every minute counts.

“When the brain doesn’t get blood flow, it also doesn’t get the oxygen carried by that blood. So, after about 10 or 15 minutes, you start getting permanent anoxic brain damage,” McCorkle said.

That’s why he encourages everyone to learn CPR so they can keep pumping blood until an automated external defibrillator is put on to start the heart.

“This is something that can be experienced if you do it quickly,” he said. “This is a public service, everyone should know how to perform effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation.”

Extra monitors to make sure the Longhorns don’t have any brakes.

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