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Ogden — Accidents happen on courts and playing fields each season. Few are life threatening, but to better prepare for medical emergencies, the first group of Weber State University athletic trainers ready to certify as emergency medical technicians (EMTs) will graduate soon.
The WSU athletic trainer/EMT program was conceived after a Utah college basketball player collapsed and required CPR in December 2012. Joel Bass, head athletic trainer at WSU, decided his athletic training staff members should certify as EMTs to prepare for possible life-threatening injuries with an athlete.
“A significant portion of athletic-training education is in emergency medicine, so all our trainers meet the requirements for a license, but wherever we can be above the standard, that’s where I like us to be,” Bass said.
Bass certified as an EMT in 1983, but he and the athletic training staff joined emergency care and rescue students for the intensive seven-week course that took three hours per night, four days per week.
On June 21, six WSU athletic trainers, along with 10 EMT students, will celebrate the completion of their EMT course. The ceremony will be held in the Marriot Allied Health building, Room 406 at 6 p.m.
“This collaboration between the athletic training department and the emergency care and rescue department is not only beneficial to the health and well-being of our WSU athletes but it also serves to demonstrate a WSU cross-departmental effort to address a serious problem,” said Frederick Henderson, coordinator of Workforce Education & Retraining for Knowledge & Skills (WERKS). “These life-saving skills are often used by EMTs, but not so often used by athletic trainers. The trainers are experts in sports injury and treatments.”
Students will complete the EMT program with six credit hours and required recommendations by the state of Utah from their instructor, allowing them to test for Utah certification as EMTs. After successful completion of the test, students will be awarded the Emergency Medical Technician Certificate from the Utah Department of Health, Bureau of Emergency Services. The students also must track any continuing medical education hours and recertify with the state every three years.
The program is valuable to paramedics and EMTs in the community who train occasionally with the WSU athletic department in expectation of cooperation during a sports injury or sporting-event accident. The project brings together the athletic training department and the emergency medical community of Utah.