In May, legislation requiring school districts across the state to provide emergency medical services at athletic events and school activities was signed into law by Governor Kevin Stitt.
Senate Bill 1198 outlines criteria that direct all Oklahoma school districts to coordinate with emergency medical service providers to develop a plan to have first responders either present or on call whenever activities are held at school facilities. The act was named for Riley Boatwright, a Lexington middle school athlete who died from injuries suffered in a football game in 2019.
The measure requires each district’s plan to be approved by the local board of education and then reviewed and updated annually and placed on file with the school district as well as local emergency medical staff.
For Marietta, Tad Hall, PA-C, ER/EMS/Fire Manager at Mercy Health Love County, is that emergency contact. Part of the plan requires the school to give Hall a schedule of all school events and have EMTs either on site or on call at every event.
Additionally, first response vehicles are to be equipped with first aid supplies, defibrillators and spinal immobilization equipment and first responders are to have direct radio contact with Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service so they can request an ambulance directly without having to go through dispatch, saving valuable time. First responders can also coordinate the launch and landing of needed medivac aircraft.
Coaches and other staff members received training at the beginning of the school year should the plan be needed. Part of the training included evaluating situations to determine necessary treatment and whether an ambulance should be called.
“The Marietta Athletic Department has worked with the Love County Emergency Services to be prepared for health/injury emergencies,” said Athletic Director Alex Doby. “Most of the coaches are CPR certified and have training for heat illness, cardiac arrest, concussions and other injuries that might occur.”
Training was administered at the beginning of the school year, along with the assignment of other responsibilities and duties that may be needed in an emergency.
“We pray that we never need our emergency plan,” said Superintendent Brandi Naylor, “but our students deserve for us to prepared for whatever happens.”