Medical Time Out

While it is imperative to have an Emergency Action Plan, it is equally important that the EAP be practiced and understood by all involved. A medical timeout is designed to prepare athletic trainers, emergency medical services, team physicians and anyone designated as responsible for the medical well-being of athletes or spectators on game day to be aware, prepared and educated. Communication between these individuals can make the difference between a positive outcome and a negative experience should an injury or incident occur. Following a medical timeout procedure reduces, and in most cases, eliminates chaos and confusion because these professionals simply took the time to be prepared.

All great professionals know being prepared is vital to achieving success. Whether it’s in business, academics, medicine or sports, many of us run through at least a mental checklist before we engage in activity. It’s within that preparation that we find what is needed, how it should be implemented and what to do if everything we’ve planned for doesn’t come to fruition. Those who are truly prepared take the time to verbalize and record those thoughts in an effort to get others moving in a similar direction. Leaders strive to be proactive and take the time to prepare themselves, their staff and everyone around them to effectively respond in the best- and worst- case scenario.

The Medical Time Out (MTO), originally created by the Kyle Group and co-branded by the Korey Stringer Institute, provides a template for organizations to follow to prepare their medical timeout. The MTO includes the following:

  1. Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS)
  2. AED placement on the sidelines
  3. Sentinel seizure/agonal respiration awareness procedures
  4. Backboard
  5. Face Mask Removal and tools
  6. C-Spine injury protocol
  7. Environmental risk status (e.g. heat, lightning, cold)
  8. Cool prior to transport
  9. Lightning plan
  10. Hemorrhage control kit

It should also include contact information for the following:

  1. Athletic Trainer(s)
  2. Team Physician(s)
  3. EMS Squad
  4. Designated hospital

How to implement the MTO on game day