New Protocol Calls for Protective Equipment Removal Prior to Athlete Transfer

Riddell Applauds NATA Joint Task Force for Taking Steps to Improve Treatment for Athletes

ROSEMONT, IL (June 24, 2015) – Riddell, the industry leader in football helmet and protective equipment technology, today announced its support for the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) and its recently approved update to the “Appropriate Care of the Spine Injured Athlete” protocol. The updated approach to emergency injury management recommends that protective equipment be removed prior to transporting the athlete from the field and facility, underscoring the advances in equipment designs and technology that have helped improve the efficiency of equipment removal.    

This important development in athlete treatment stemmed from a series of medical publications pointing to the need for updates to the protocol and was led by members of the NATA Joint Task Force that brought together representatives from 30 different disciplines in emergency care. In particular, it was shared that training varies among first responders on equipment removal.

“The new consensus statement was developed to help create a standardized protocol for the management of athletic spine injuries across professions, from athletic trainers to physicians to emergency medical technicians,” said Ron Courson, a member of the NATA Joint Task Force and University of Georgia’s Senior Associate Athletic Director – Sports Medicine. “Perhaps the most sweeping change is the recommendation to remove protective equipment prior to transport. Athletic trainers and emergency medical technicians are familiar with equipment removal techniques. Removing equipment on the field provides access to the airway and chest in the event of life threatening emergencies and facilitates packaging. Upon arrival at the emergency facility, it facilitates physician evaluation and diagnostic testing.”  

Riddell led the way with integration of technologies that assist first responders with prompt equipment removal. In their review of the protocol, the NATA Joint Task Force evaluated Riddell equipment samples with such technologies – RipKord™ and Quick Release™ – and referenced features like these in their final recommendation.

“Riddell approaches product development with a focus on player protection and the ease of use for those working directly with football equipment,” said, Thad Ide, Senior Vice President of Research and Product Development for Riddell. “We have continued to introduce technologies in our protective headgear and shoulder pads that make equipment removal easier and more effective, helping to facilitate the best care for the athlete.”

In 2007, Riddell introduced its patented Quick Release face mask attachment hardware that disengages with a simple press of a button and helps first responders quickly and efficiently access a player. Riddell’s RipKord shoulder pad removal system launched in 2011 and utilizes a release mechanism that is strategically integrated into the shoulder pad that allows for quicker pad removal and easier access to a player’s chest in the event of a head or neck injury. Both features are available on Riddell helmet and shoulder pad models used at all levels of football.

Joining Courson in advocating for the change in protocol was Dr. Erik Swartz, a NATA Joint Task Force member and Professor and Chair of the Department of Kinesiology at the University of New Hampshire, and he said, “We considered a variety of factors that have taken us together towards this recommendation. Advances in first response techniques and equipment technology contributed to the shift in support for removal in appropriate situations. From my experience, Riddell has been a leader in considerations of emergency response in the case of an injured athlete with products like Quick Release and RipKord, and these efforts are driving the industry forward. There is still work to be done, but the progress is great to see.”

About Riddell

Founded in 1929, Riddell is a premier designer and developer of protective sports equipment and a recognized leader in helmet technology and innovation. One of BRG Sports’ most well-known brands, Riddell is the leading manufacturer of football helmets, shoulder pads and reconditioning services (cleaning, repairing, repainting and recertifying existing equipment). For more information, visit our website at www.riddell.com, like the Riddell Facebook page, or follow Riddell on Twitter and Instagram @RiddellSports.

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