In our recent article a “Rise in Youth Concussions” we spoke about the recent increase in head injuries amongst our younger non-professional athletes. We discussed how concussions in kids have doubled in the last 10 years.
We spoke with Angelo Marsella on how we could help young athletes to prevent head injuries. He also gave parents and coaches’ tips on what to look out for when players get concussions and also the importance of having an athletic trainer on the field.
Fortunately for us, Dr. Steve Horwitz read our article and contacted us with some information to help teams solve the problem of not having an athletic trainer. Dr. Horwitz is a chiropractor with a focus in sports medicine who was apart of the USA Olympics’ team medical staff in 1996.
Dr. Horwitz is also the founder of “Team Safe” a patent-pending native app developed with input from many in the medical field. The app provides emergency action plans, all player’s emergency contacts, emergency medical info for each player, and an emergency care center with instructions for CPR, AED, Heimlich maneuver and much more. Being a coach, medical professional and most importantly a dad lead him to begin working on “Team Safe”.
“The passion came from when I was on the sidelines I realized nobody knows anything,” said Horwitz. “One example I have is our son now is involved Taekwondo, and neither my wife or I can be at every session, so when I spoke to the master their neither he or any of his instructors knew CPR. So we taught them CPR and developed an emergency action plan.”
Some high schools are fortunate enough to have an athletic trainer present during practice or games, but some schools are not and rec league teams who are not heavily funded may not be able to afford one, which is where Team Safe comes in.
“The goal was to make it user friendly for the layperson (non medical expert) to remove all the medical terminology so they can understand how to use it, because in a perfect world we would have athletic trainers not just at every game but every practice too but that’s not reality,” said Horwitz. “We have 20-50 million kids playing youth sports the bulk of that does not have an athletic trainer on the sideline, so how can we create a culture and community of safety.”
Coaches and teams who sign up with the app are prompted to go through a coach safety certification course, which will help, coaches prepare, recognize, manage, and prevent on-field injuries. The app has many uses including a medical info section for each player provided by their parents.
“The parent would just enter the child’s age, height, weight, any medical conditions, any medication they take, and then we added a little extra to that from a legal standpoint there’s a consent form for parents to sign allowing the coach to use a child’s EpiPen if needed,” said Horwitz.
In our first article, Angelo Marsella spoke about many ways to try and prevent injuries but he did mention athletic trainers should have an emergency action plan just in case. Team Safe suggests the same thing for teams without an athletic trainer on hand; including action plans for players with specific health issues.
“When we talk about emergency action plans literally it just means who’s running out on the field, you must assign a coach who is comfortable in dealing with a kid bleeding on the field to run out there,” said Horwitz. “So we have a template and all you’re doing is assigning a duty whether it be the coach, assistant coaches or even some parents you assign as safety officers.”
One of the most important sections of the app maybe the emergency care center which gives you the “down and dirty” as Dr. Horwitz calls it of what to do in specific injury cases.
“It’s just one screen saying this is what you need to know for those five to seven minutes before the ambulance gets there, so we are trying to have the instructions front and center, so if you forget you just tap it and really simple run through.”
Team Safe is an app for those teams who just can’t afford to have an athletic trainer present during games or practice. It gives coaches the help they may need when caught in an emergency situation and Dr. Horwitz hopes it will help change the mindset on injuries in sports.