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Emergency Management of Athletes With Spine and Visceral Injuries

presented by Katie Whetstone, PT, DPT, SCS

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Katie Whetstone receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course.

Nonfinancial: Katie Whetstone has no competing nonfinancial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

MedBridge is committed to accessibility for all of our subscribers. If you are in need of a disability-related accommodation, please contact [email protected]. We will process requests for reasonable accommodation and will provide reasonable accommodations where appropriate, in a prompt and efficient manner.

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Video Runtime: 89 Minutes; Learning Assessment Time: 41 Minutes

Because of the potential severity and life-threatening nature of spinal and visceral injuries, the sports medicine professional must be well trained and effective in the management of athletes suspected of having these injuries. Each sporting venue should have an emergency action plan that includes practice runs of the plan and even the practice of spine boarding. The emergency action plan should be developed well before the start of the season and should incorporate all individuals associated with the care of the athlete, including physicians, athletic trainers, sports physical therapists, emergency care personnel, coaches, and other individuals identified by the emergency care team. In some instances, spinal and visceral injuries can quickly become life-threatening; therefore, coordination of this team for on-field and off-field response ensures quick and effective care of these athletes. Knowing how to diagnose, treat, and manage return to play for spinal and visceral injuries is essential for protecting the athlete. This course provides an in-depth discussion of visceral and spinal injuries, including potential mechanisms, signs and symptoms, and management of these conditions. In addition, the sports physical therapist can review physical skills through lab demonstrations of on-field evaluation and spine boarding.

Meet Your Instructor

Katie Whetstone, PT, DPT, SCS

Dr. Katie Whetstone is a board-certified clinical specialist in the area of sports physical therapy and a full-time faculty member at the University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana. Katie has a Bachelor of Science degree in the area of exercise science as well as a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. She also completed formal sports…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Introduction to the Emergency Action Plan

It is inevitable that at some point, the sports physical therapist will be involved in the decision-making process of sending an athlete to the hospital through Emergency Medical Services. These are the scariest and most heart-pounding moments of performing sideline coverage at sporting events. Every move the sports physical therapist makes in these situations is crucial to the overall outcome for the athlete. When in a life-and-death emergency, the sports physical therapist’s decision-making needs to be conservative and second nature. This chapter will introduce the possible life-changing spinal and visceral injuries that can occur in sports. In addition, this chapter emphasizes the importance of an emergency action plan, informs the viewer of the essential components of an emergency action plan, and provides rules of evaluation for an injury on the sidelines and on the field.

2. Spinal Injuries

When an athlete goes down and is not moving, the sports physical therapist must know how to perform an initial assessment and thorough but quick evaluation of the athlete to determine the nature of the injury. When considering potential spinal injuries, quick thinking and differential diagnosis are key. In this chapter, Katie Whetstone covers spinal anatomy and symptoms of various conditions involving the spine. In addition, a step-by-step approach to evaluation of the potential spinal injury is given.

3. Emergency Response to the Spine-Injured Athlete

In this lab demonstration, the sports medicine team runs to the side of an athlete who is down and is not moving. Viewers can follow along with the step-by-step initial assessment and evaluation of the athlete, which eventually leads to spine boarding and emergency transportation of the athlete.

4. Visceral Injuries

This chapter covers a variety of visceral injuries and focuses especially on chest and abdominal injuries and their common referral patterns. Katie Whetstone emphasizes typical mechanisms of injury, signs and symptoms, and acute management for a variety of visceral injuries.

5. Spinal and Visceral Injuries Q&A

In this interview-style chapter, the sports medicine team of Todd Arnold and Katie Whetstone share their experiences in the acute management of spinal and visceral injuries prior to hospital transport.

More Courses in this Series

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Video Runtime: 71 Minutes; Learning Assessment Time: 44 Minutes

For physical therapists, soft-tissue injuries such as sprains and strains are nothing new; however, lacerations, punctures, and traumatic amputations that are sometimes seen during on-field coverage of sporting events may require quick and effective decision-making in order to keep the athlete safe from more emergent conditions. In this course, sports medicine practitioners Katie and Todd will discuss the most common soft-tissue injuries, their typical courses of treatment, and return-to-play considerations. In addition, a thorough lab demonstration on bleeding control and care of open wounds will be provided to assist the sports physical therapist in both preventing and managing shock.

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Environmental Considerations for the Athlete

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Environmental Considerations for the Athlete

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Athletes compete in all types of environments, and the weather at sporting events can be quite unpredictable. But no matter the weather, the sports physical therapist needs to be ready to both prevent and treat weather-related injuries. The sports physical therapist plays a vital role in the safety of not only the athletes, but also the coaches, officials, and spectators of various athletic events occurring in all types of climates and conditions. In this course on environmental considerations for the athlete, Katie Whetstone (sports physical therapist) and Todd Arnold (sports medicine physician) will address the prevention and treatment of common weather-related injuries, such as heat illness, hypothermia, dehydration, and altitude sickness, and give tips for lightning safety during outdoor events. Katie and Todd will share their real-life experiences while answering your frequently asked questions regarding environmental safety.

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Emergency Management of Cardiovascular Conditions

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Video Runtime: 62 Minutes; Learning Assessment Time: 36 Minutes

Cardiovascular emergencies are unfortunately common in the sporting population; therefore, it is crucial for the sports physical therapist to be able to identify those at risk for cardiovascular conditions and to be able to react quickly and effectively in case of a cardiac emergency. In this course, Katie Whetstone (sports physical therapist) will review common cardiovascular conditions and emergencies in the athlete, as well as review the pathophysiology of sickle cell trait and its implications in the athlete.

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Emergency Management of Skeletal Injuries

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Emergency Management of Skeletal Injuries

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Video Runtime: 71 Minutes; Learning Assessment Time: 39 Minutes

As physical therapists, we are often comfortable taking care of musculoskeletal injuries such as fractures and dislocations subacutely, but rarely do we witness and treat those injuries acutely. The sports physical therapist, on the other hand, must be ready at all times to skillfully and safely assess and manage these injuries when they happen during training or competition. In this course, the sports medicine team of Katie Whetstone (sports physical therapist) and Todd Arnold (sports medicine physician) will guide you through the practice of assessing, immobilizing, and otherwise treating acute musculoskeletal injuries through instruction and lab demonstration. Additionally, we will help you to monitor for signs of life-threatening injuries that are often associated with skeletal injuries and discuss return-to-play guidelines following skeletal injuries.

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Protective Sports Equipment and Proper Fitting

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Video Runtime: 60 Minutes; Learning Assessment Time: 36 Minutes

One of the primary responsibilities of the sports medicine professional is the prevention of injury. What role does the sports medicine professional play in the proper fit of protective equipment, and what is the role of the sports medicine professional in the modification of this equipment? Protective equipment is designed to absorb the shock of collision and/or contact in sports. Proper fitting of protective equipment is the first step in the prevention or minimization of sports-related injury, especially in contact and/or collision sports. This course will provide information and demonstration regarding the most common types of protective sports equipment, tutorials for proper fitting of this equipment, and an interview session where sports professionals will share stories of mishaps with protective equipment.

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