Loyola rethinks athlete safety protocols


Photo illustration by Gabrielle Korein

Abigail Schmidt, Life and Times Editor

Sports medicine has been a hot-button issue lately, and Loyola’s medical teams have their own plans in place to ensure safety on and off the court.

Several schools and sports organizations across the country have recently implemented stronger safety procedures since NFL player Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest and was revived on the field by an emergency response team.

Because of this quick emergency response, Hamlin is going to be able to play football again, according to the New York Times.

This situation has sparked a rise in safety precautions in several fields, especially sports. Numerous universities and high schools are putting plans in place to ensure that their emergency response is as quick as possible, according to WNEM.com.

“Practicing/reviewing the emergency action plan and communicating that plan to all staff is very important in ensuring proper care during emergencies in athletics, which can happen at any given moment,” said Loyola athletic director Brett Simpson.

Loyola works with athletic trainers through Ochsner Sports Medicine, according to Simpson. They are all trained in CPR and using automotive extended defibrillators, or AEDs.

Two of these are located in the University Sports Complex, Simpson said. One is behind the check-in area of the lobby, and the other is located by the door of the athletic training room near the back courts. The medical staff is also trained in these and are present at all sporting events.

“In addition, they are skilled in providing emergency care for heart-related illness, c-spine injuries, athletic injuries, heat emergencies, etc., as outlined by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners and the National Board of Athletic Trainers,” Simpson said.

Patricia Murret, associate director of public affairs at Loyola, said that following the Hamlin incident, the university conducted an internal review of its policies and procedures with the sports medicine staff, emphasizing emergency preparedness, continuous training, and best practices. She added that Dr. David Leslie, the school’s physician, and a team doctor for the New Orleans Saints, was included in the review.

“We are always seeking to be prepared and to improve,” Murret said.

In September, Loyola’s athletic department conducted an annual meeting where they completed an “emergency action plan” in which medical staff and coaches came together to practice what to do in emergencies that may arise during a sporting activity, Murret said.

Loyola also has a complete set of procedures listed on their website in the case of emergencies, in which one would first call LUPD, then local emergency services.