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Athletic Training Professor's Research Addresses the Emergency Care of Acute Cardiac Events in Lacrosse Athletes  

Richard Boergers 320 picA faculty member in the Department of Athletic Training, School of Health and Medical Sciences, received a $13,965 grant to support his athletic training research. Richard J. Boergers, Ph.D., ATC, Associate Professor, believes his project titled "The Effect of Lacrosse Protective Equipment on Time to First Chest Compression and First Automated External Defibrillator Shock" will help change clinical practice guidelines for the pre-hospital care of athletes suffering acute cardiac events.

Dr. Boergers is the co-principle investigator with Dr. Thomas Bowman from the University of Lynchburg whom he has collaborated with for a number of years in this area of research. US Lacrosse, the sport's national governing body, has funded this project through their Sports Science and Safety Research Grant.

Responding to Acute Cardiac Events in Lacrosse
A recent project of showed that we can effectively initiate compressions over the shoulder pads to reach the American Heart Association (AHA) recommended compression depth and rate. The next step in managing cardiac events is early AED intervention. Dr. Boergers' research project will help provide evidence for how an athletic trainer should manage sports equipment during cardiac emergencies.

"There is a relatively high incidence of acute cardiac incidents in athletics, however no one has looked at how the equipment may interfere with the AED application," Dr. Boergers said. "This will help to fill some of those gaps. This information will allow athletic trainers to be prepared to handle on-field emergencies by having evidence to support their practice decisions."

Dr. Boergers' study is a simulation that utilizes high-fidelity manikins for data collection. The manikins will be outfitted with lacrosse equipment (helmets and shoulder pads), and the athletic trainers who participate in the study will use different procedures to intervene to test the outcomes.

"It is critical for us [athletic trainers] to find out if we can deliver quality CPR compressions and quickly apply AED pads to a patient who is wearing shoulder pads that is suffering an acute cardiac event. We know that initiation of the compressions over the equipment falls within AHA standards however we still need to see how the equipment will interfere with the application of AED pads," Boergers explains. "The AHA advocates for expedient AED intervention so whichever procedure we use is quickest and allows for proper AED pad placement that will be the procedure of choice. When responding to an on-field emergency, it is critical that the procedures to be used are mapped out ahead of time so that we can achieve optimal patient outcomes."

Categories: Athletics , Health and Medicine

For more information, please contact:

  • Richard Boergers, PhD, ATC
  • (973) 275-2458