Safety first: MTO now in third year

By John Conley -

Medical Time Out is back for a third year at Wyoming County Schools.

A training session was held for coaches, administrators, athletic trainers and first responders last Tuesday night at Pineville Middle School.

Developed by Dr. Jim Kyle, Region I EMS director, the program is designed to expedite response to injuries at football games.

MTO is also available for cheerleaders and fans.

Coaches, paramedics and others meet 30 minutes prior to game time to go through a checklist of items ranging from how to respond to a certain type of injury to where a helicopter will land if someone has to be flown out.

Chad Cox, a paramedic for STAT EMS of Pineville, said Kyle brought MTO to southern West Virginia and got AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) into schools.

He said MTO reduces “chaos and confusion” in instances where injuries occur.

Cox noted that pre-game discussions consider “what you should have, where is it, who has it.”

The checklist, he said, should incude which hospital to contact, having tools ready in case football equipment must be removed and EMS contacts.

Cox said school officials can provide keys and designate the best egress route if transportation is required. Law enforcement provides crowd control.

Cheerleading injuries often involve the head, neck and back, he reported.

Discussion also included Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and cardiac concussion.

The histories of athletes with heart defects, asthma and other conditions should be also known, Cox said.

Those attending were split into three groups and got a refresher course on CPR and lifting an injured person on to a stretcher.

“(MTO) is great,” Cox commented. “The program is beneficial.”

It brings key people and tools to the game site, he noted. “You’ve got advanced life support personnel, you’ll have physicians at some game. You develop camaraderie with the school officials.”

MTO may begin going to othe outdoor sports. “There’s talk about going into soccer venues, into baseball venues,” Cox stated.

“The good thing about MTO is that you have all your resources in one place and a plan,” he observed. “It’s good to have a school sytem that is involved (in this).”

Some neighboring counties have also implemented MTO.

John Conley can be reached at 304-732-6060 or on Twitter @PIHnews.

By John Conley

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