HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Damar Hamlin incident opened a lot of eyes about the dangers of contact sports and how important training staffs are. Amy Smearman has been the Head Athletic Trainer at Hollidaysburg High School for 22 years. Over the decades she has seen a wide variety of emergencies and injuries. Due to the nature of contact sports, all schools developed an action plan that everyone is trained on.

“We basically have to be prepared for anything,” said Smearman. “It could be something due to equipment or weather or pretty much anything, any type of athletic injury or medical event the Damar Hamlin incident, you saw the athletic trainers in motion, and they did a wonderful job and that’s the reason why we are there is to help protect the athletes.”

The training staff is always as close to the action and at the high school level it takes everyone on the field to tend to a crisis.

“I would be the one taking care of the injured player, but I may be asking coaches or other players or other staff to go maybe call 911 for me to meet some the ambulance outside, make sure doors are unlocked, retrieve equipment, things like that,” Smearman said. “So that I can stay in, initiate that care and hopefully to help the individual get better That just helps give us some guidance.”

With the fast paced nature, every second counts and it’s crucial to have everyone on standby to be ready to spring into action.

“If we can recognize a serious emergency right away, we can initiate care right away so we can get the necessary equipment and begin treating that individual,” said Smearman. “And that helps to hire the more successful outcomes in a medical emergency like the Damar Hamlin, every second counts. And to be able to have the medical personnel right there on hand and start care immediately.”

Anytime a scary incident like the one with Damar Hamlin happens they are always looking at ways to improve their emergency action plan.