The first reading of a plan to implement Medical Time Out at Wyoming County high school football games was approved last Monday by the Board of Education.
Dr. Jim Kyle, Region I Emergency Medical Services director, and Mark Brooks of Stat EMS explained how MTO would provide a more coordinated approach in planning for and responding to injuries which may occur on the field or in the bleachers.
“We can’t look beyond the safety of our kids,” Brooks commented.
Kyle said the program began at Concord two years ago. “We always tried to figure out the what ifs,” he remarked.
Under MTO, EMS, the athletic trainers for home and visiting teams and coaches meet 30 minutes before kickoff and review a checklist for preparedness. That includes identifiying a landing zone in the event that an injury requires that someone be air lifted.
If an injury occurs, hand signals to the sideline are used to indicate the type of injury involved.
EMS personnel would be on the sideline during the game, and backup would be provided if the ambulance at the game has to respond to a call.
Kyle said he would like to see Southern West Virginia serve as a model for the rest of the state.
Board Member Mike Davis asked how the new process would differ from what is done now.
Kyle said ambulances usually park near the gate. He suggested that the ambulance crew should be “on the track and ready to go” under MTO.
“It sounds like a great program,” remarked Superintendent of Schools Frank “Bucky” Blackwell.
BOE President Michale Prichard said it should be discussed with principals and coaches.
Davis said it was important “to get the principals on board.”
Board Member Robbie Bailey said a Wyoming East player was face down on the field at Mingo Central last year for 50 minutes before an ambulance arrived.
Also mentioned during the meeting were incidents where a sixth grader died at the East-Westside football game last year and several people had to be taken out on stretchers during an East-Westside basketball game.
“We’re crazy if we don’t (use the program),” Bailey noted.
Davis said he thought the board should approve the program. “It doesn’t get more important than protecting people’s lives,” he stated.
The BOE approved a first reading on implementing the program. A second reading will be voted on at the next board meeting.
Transportation and Safety Director Jeff Hylton said two-way radio systems have been ordered for all schools.
He also reported that cell phone boosters should be in before school starts.
Hylton expects cameras for school buses to be installed within a month or two of the start of school.
The video quality of the cameras is good enough to pick up license plate numbers of cars who pass buses.
John Conley can be reached at 304-732-6060 or on Twitter @PIHnews.