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Making return to play calls at youth football games


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You could hire EMT's to be your first responders.  they should be under a medical director's supervision, approach the local ER or Clinic to see if there are any physician's willing to do this.  

If you cannot find a physician to lead the charge so to speak, I would only hire someone for first aid, and first aid only.  Anything more than a cut or a bruise gets EMS called.  Have the first aider initially look at the patient but EMS should be called.  

You should not put the level of responsibility of making a decision on allowing a child to return to a game after they have been hurt to a EMT, sorry emt's out there, but seriously, this is not your purveyance.  

If the local sports organization isn't willing to fork out money for a higher trained person on site than an EMT then they need to NOT have anyone and just call 911 to get EMS there.  But EMS should not be the ones to make the decision to let the child return to the game, that's why you pay someone of a higher level of care like a trainer or a physician or even a nurse.  

Have you asked your parents if there are any physicians out there who might be willing to volunteer to be the medical person if something were to come up in a given situation?  You might find that you have more doc's and nurses in the group than you realize who will volunteer one game day each to make sure that all the kids are safe.  Something to think about.  

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  • 1 year later...

Sorry I am so late to respond to this topic but I just saw it and have a unique background.  My first career was as an athletic trainer and I worked at the high school, university and professional football levels and I have maintained my license to this day.  I am also a paramedic, registered nurse and certified registered nurse anesthetist so I can say with complete certainty that EMS providers  of any level and registered nurses are NOT qualified to make return to play decisions.  Every youth sports team should make provisions for medical care during practices and games and certainly cost is a factor but isn't the safety and well being of the athletes more important?  Relying on parents that are health professionals is done frequently but it is not always a wise choice.  You pay the officials so why don't you pay the health care provider?    

Paying a local EMT or paramedic to attend games is reasonable as long as you recognize you are only getting somebody who can intervene in life threatening conditions and access EMS more readily than calling 911.  My service is paid to provide one EMT or paramedic for youth football games and who ever works takes one of our response vehicles and can immediately summon a medic unit if needed.  Frequently, they treat minor orthopedic injuries with a splint of some sort and the parents transport to the DEM for evaluation after signing a refusal form.  Easy gig that pays OT so there is competition for the shifts.   EMS folks who work sporting events should always say no when asked to make return to play decisions because as soon as the coaches realize you will always say no, they will quit asking.  

The best way to provide medical care for sporting events on any level is to hire a licensed athletic trainer.  Yes, I am biased.


May the tube be with you.


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I did a couple of stand by's at junior high and High school football games, Was asked several times if I would give the return to play authorization and I refused.  I told them that I was no where near qualfied to make that level of decision.  Pissed the coaches off to no end and they usually would call the parent of the player down on the field and the parent would make the decision. Needless to say, they didn't come to me after I refused the 5th time.  Not putting my license in jeopardy when that type of decision is WAY the hell out of my scope.  

The liability is just too great and any EMS system making these types of decisions are taking a HUGE risk.  


I know of a ems system that was stand by at a rodeo.  A young boy was hit pretty hard by a medium sized bull,  the medics said he should not be riding anymore and needed to get checked out but he and his parents just took him back to the trailer and had him lay down and rest.  The family left him alone and went back to the rodeo.  When they returned the young boy had died and I believe it was ruled as closed head injury or maybe a bleed.  

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