Life-threatening sports injuries are rare, but knowing CPR is crucial, Bryan Health doc says

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – On the heels of Buffalo Bills football player Damar Hamlin’s collapse on the field, parents want to know how safe their kids are while playing sports.

How much risk do student-athletes face? And what are the best precautions to take in case of an emergency?

While all sporting activities contain some inherent risk, for the most part, healthy people can get in the game without dwelling on fears of injury.

Bryan Health cardiologist Dr. Mathue Baker says persons without underlying medical conditions rarely have to worry about a life-threatening injury.

But when the inevitable does happen on the field, the most important thing to know is what to do and to have the necessary equipment at hand.

“It just underscores the importance of knowing CPR and basic life support, but more importantly than that, I think the message is the importance of external defibrillators,” Baker said. Lots of public places have automatic external defibrillators, or AEDs. Knowing where those are at in situations of athletics is something that there’s been a lot of focus on.”

Baker says taking swift action is key. The more time that lapses between the injury and medical service, the more a bad situation can turn into a deadly one.

It’s important to note that everyone can benefit from learning CPR, so you are equipped with the tools you need in a medical emergency.

Another part of being equipped includes statewide comprehensive plans of action set forth by the Nebraska School Activities Association. It governs protocol for high school sports throughout Nebraska.

NSAA Assistant Director Nate Neuhaus told Channel 8 the rules local high schools follow.

“We have return-to-play protocols to follow for concussions that are in place that all schools are required to follow and expected to follow,” he said. “So I feel like more than ever, our student-athletes are safer than they ever have been because of the oversight and the attention to detail these medical health professionals provide.”

Neuhaus also says each school has defibrillators spread out in multiple areas throughout the school.

Additionally, schools participate in a “Test Your Defibrillator Day” to make sure medical equipment is working.

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