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Can you imagine a bomb going off at a homecoming football game? Or a shooter going on a murderous rampage during a rivalry game between two high school basketball teams?
What was once unthinkable is now a very real possibility, given the recent happenings at events like the Boston Marathon.
For that reason, SWAT team medics spent Wednesday teaching athletic trainers and administrators at local schools how to provide assistance during mass casualty scenarios.
A full-day event held at Saint Xavier High School provided school officials and athletic trainers a chance to prepare for the unimaginable specialized training, including a realistic mass casualty simulation.
"We're trying to get everything prepared and be as prepared in West Clermont School District as possible for any type of event that would happen," said Daniel Simmons, athletic director at Glen Este High School.
Under the guidance of the Tactical Medical Division of the Dayton, Ohio SWAT team, Wellington Orthopaedics' Athletic Trainers received specialized training on how to respond in a casualty or mass casualty situation.
Bryan Rogers, a tactical medic for Kettering Regional SWAT team, was one of the professionals providing tips for school trainers like Abbie Denen, a trainer at Nagel Middle School.
"There are going to be times where the police and fire will be here, so we have a medical background so we need to be able to use it appropriately," Denen said.
The field experts taught the trainers how to practice their responses during an active shooter situation during a lab simulation exercise. They learned how best to medically respond in such a situation, including providing self-aid, buddy aid and patient triage.
Trainers also learned how to recognize and get into the mind of an active shooter.
"A Mass casualty at any event is going to be kind of nerve-wracking," Denen said. "Our background will let us fall into our training and let that kick in."
Athletic trainers are in a unique position to respond to a mass casualty situation at sporting events, considering they already treat athletes on the field and audience members in the stands for a variety of ailments, including orthopaedic and internal injuries, minor or massive bleeding, concussions and injuries requiring CPR.
However, while all the trainers in attendance have experience doing things like placing tourniquets on a person and treating concussions, Wellington Orthopaedics provided its trainers with this special casualty situation training to ensure its trainers are prepared to handle any situation they may encounter and provide potentially life-saving aid.
"Getting my hands on and letting myself feel it so then I'll be able to do it better on somebody else if I've had it done to me before," said Denen.
A lab simulation, where they the trainers put all they learned over the course of the day into practice, closed out the event.
Woody Goffinett with Kettering Health Network said the trainers in attendance handled the situation well.
"Most of those health care providers had never seen a bombing injury. They all knew to apply a tourniquet right away," he said.
Simmons said that in addition to providing techniques for handling situations, the event also provided school officials a chance to come together and discuss how best to address similar worst-case scenarios.
"We provided an opportunity for my athletic trainer, myself and my school resource officer, to get together and talk about things that we think need to be more prepared in the classroom just from looking at some of the things that the people from Dayton just taught us," Simmons said.
Anthony Mirones, 9 On Your Side, contributed to this report
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