HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM) – Arnot Health and local first responders came together for a new event, with major importance.

Arnot Health Sports Medicine collaborated with local first responders, to prepare for potential injuries on the football field. Representatives from Horseheads, Elmira Heights, Town & Country Fire Departments, and Erway Ambulance Service attended the special training event. Following a life-threatening injury to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin in January, local emergency personnel worked together to prepare for potential situations that they could encounter on the field. In the first ever event at Horseheads High School, Arnot’s staff gave instruction on how to care for football players, who have a potential spinal injury.

Participants practiced removal of helmets, pads, and facemasks on scene, while also handling football players that are laying in different positions, following an injury. The Arnot Sports Medicine team also walked through respiratory and cardiac arrest scenarios. Certified Athletic Trainer at Arnot Health, Allyson Lee Barton, shared that she was pleased to see so many emergency teams attend the event. Barton emphasized the importance of the event, in regards to football equipment.

“The event gives first responders a first hand look at helmets and shoulder pads, said Barton. A football helmet looks very different from a motorcycle or lacrosse helmet.”

Barton added that the removal of a football helmet along with shoulder pads can be dangerous if done incorrectly.

“If you remove a football helmet, said Barton. They still have pads on, which will force the neck to stay in extension, potentially compromising the injury.”

Arnot Health Registered Nurse and Elmira Heights Fire Department EMT, Rob Burnham explained that the drills provided at the event will help first responders become more familiar with football gear, which is something they do not always deal with.

“We’ve never really done anything with football or hockey players, said Burnham. Obviously we deal with more motor vehicle accidents than anything.”

Burnham added that the training was extremely important, citing that familiarity with the workings of football equipment will put emergency crews ahead, when it comes to dealing with an on field event.

The collaboration between Arnot Health and local first responders will not end with this event. One main goal of the training was to better prepare for situations when Arnot’s Athletic Trainers would work alongside emergency crews on the field.

Arnot’s Allyson Lee Barton was excited to see emergency crews from the Twin Tiers at the event and help the groups train in a low risk situation. Barton added that she hopes to continue events like this in the future. Monday’s training collaboration not only helped educate first responders, but created a connection between local paramedics and Arnot Sports Medicine, to teach future EMTs in the area.