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Athletic Training Professor’s Research Addresses the Emergency Care of Spine-Injured Athletes in Lacrosse  

R Boergers A faculty member in the Department of Athletic Training, School of Health and Medical Sciences, received a $57,500 grant to support his athletic training research, which he hopes will help to change clinical practice guidelines for the pre-hospital care of spine-injured athletes.

Richard J. Boergers, PhD, ATC, Assistant Professor and an alumnus of the school's PhD in Health Sciences program, will receive funding from the National Athletic Trainers' Association Research and Education Foundation (NATAREF) for his project titled "The Effect of Lacrosse Protective Equipment and Advanced Airway Equipment on Ability to Perform CPR." This year, the NATAREF received 16 proposals for their general grant program, and Dr. Boergers' project was the only one selected to be funded.

Responding to Spinal Cord Injuries in Lacrosse
Recently, new recommendations concerning the acute management of the spine-injured athlete were released by an inter-association task force comprised of athletic trainers, EMTs and emergency room physicians. Dr. Boergers' research project will help provide evidence for how an athletic trainer should manage sports equipment during emergency situations and also which airway-management devices should be used in such an emergency.

"Literature pertaining to management of lacrosse equipment is lacking," 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 utilizes high-fidelity manikins for data collection, which the Department of Athletic Training will be able to purchase with the grant funding. The manikins will be outfitted with lacrosse equipment (helmets and shoulder pads), and the athletic trainers who participate in the study will use different advanced airway techniques to test the outcomes.

"It is critical for us [athletic trainers] to find out if a patient who is not breathing can be adequately ventilated while still wearing the helmet. We know that removal of the helmet creates significant motion in the cervical spine, which is undesirable," Boergers explains. "We also need to find out if the shoulder pads will interfere with the ability to do chest compressions. We know that football pads interfere with the depth of compressions, but lacrosse shoulder pads are much thinner and do not have the hard plastic shell."

When the study concludes, the manikins will be used within the Master of Science in Athletic Training curriculum to educate and train students for various emergency simulations.

Categories: Health and Medicine

For more information, please contact:

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