Sidelined: Emergency Action Plans

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo — “When an emergency does arise, that brings on heightened emotion, adrenaline starts going, and it’s not a situation where you are really able to think clearly,” said Tyler Overstreet. “So having a plan in place, and having everyone on the same page really helps.”

Whether in the classroom or on the court, Tyler Overstreet is at the front lines of keeping students safe.

“There’s and old saying: prior preparation prevents poor performance. Always having a plan, and always having a backup plan,” said Overstreet.

As the principal of Republic High School, his administration relies on an Emergency Action Plan.

“Its a procedure and protocol for any facility you have on campus,” said Overstreet.

Everyone is familiar with fire drill, but these EAP’s also translate directly into athletics.

“When you look at it, football is such a contact sport there is a lot of different injuries that can take place,” said Overstreet.

STANDUP — An Emergency Action Plan includes the basics, like who takes care of an injured athlete on the football field, but it also includes things that might go unnoticed, like who is unlocking the double-wide gate so an ambulance can access the field.

Cox Health is the service provider for the Republic School District.

“Time is the most important factor, just like it is in all of the world,” explained Dr. Shannon Woods.

Dr. Shannon Woods leads the Cox Health Sports Medicine Program.

“Every school is different, and their needs are different. We try to adapt what we are doing to their facilities, because that is going to make a difference in what you do. Not all school districts are laid out the same, and they may not have the same supplies. We need to make sure that we bring it up to a par level where everyone is equal,” said Woods.

The Missouri State High School Athletics Association states that all schools should have a written and rehearsed emergency plan, but 10% of schools responding to their 2015 survey, report that their school district does not have a plan in place.

“I would have to say that 100% of our schools have an Emergency Action Plan in place on paper somewhere,” said Harvey Richards. “It’s whether they are actually using it or not.”

Harvey Richards is the Associate Executive Director with MSHSAA.

“One of your practices, with the X’s and the O’s, should be a practice with what you do with your Emergency Action Plan,” said Richards. “A simulated accident, where something has occurred. What are you going to do, what is your team going to do, and everything else.”

“Every school should have an emergency action plan” said Jim Raynor.

Jim Raynor is the Director of Mercy Sports Medicine.

“What if there isn’t a lane for the EMS? What happens if the gate is locked? Who knows what they are doing at a given time? They need to be simple, but comprehensive. Anyone can be a participant,” said Raynor.

MSHSAA has guidelines for an Emergency Action Plan, posted on its website. It should include personnel responsibilities in case of an emergency, lines of communication between the school, athletes, and emergency personnel, equipment, such as AED’s, as well as information about the athletes and the venues where the sports are being played.

Planning and preparation though, are just the 1st steps in the equation.

“Emergency Action Plans are living breathing documents. It’s never something that you build, and say it’s good enough. You always continue to evaluate them, and find ways to improve things in the future,” said Overstreet.
 

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