Students provide care, relief during games
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2013 23:09
On Saturday afternoon, tens of thousands of devoted fans will flock to Kyle Field to support the Aggies as they face Alabama. But, while those in attendance have a good time, the members of Texas A&M’s Emergency Care Team, TAMECT, will be there to serve A&M in a very particular way.
TAMECT is the organization responsible for the emergency health services available to students and spectators at football games, as well as a variety of other University events around Bryan-College Station.
“We man the first-aid stations at events on- and off-campus,” said Christina Meenan, senior biology major and public relations officer for TAMECT. “That includes football as well as 5k fun runs, sorority rush and various Corps events.”
TAMECT’s biggest events are Aggie football games, where work starts before the day of the game. On Friday, TAMECT officers bring the majority of the equipment to Beutel Health Center, where they will meet with their teams of medics the next day.
Teams are headed by a medic-in-charge — a volunteer who has their Emergency Medical Technician certification. Under each medic-in-charge are groups of medics — first responders who have been trained in CPR and advanced first-aid.
“We typically meet four hours before kick-off,” Meenan said. “So for the Alabama game we will meet at 10:30 a.m. in Beutel, organize there and load equipment.”
The medics and EMT’s then move over to Kyle Field to completely set up three hours before kickoff, in case of an emergency before the game. Teams of medics are stationed at each level, with other stations set up around Kyle Field. Additionally, TAMECT sets up a cool-down station at the McFerrin
During the game, TAMECT takes care of spectators who are ill, whether it is feeling nauseated, passing out or a more serious issue. Ushers and police officers scattered through the levels of the stadium alert the closest medic team to patients, and TAMECT members respond.
Iggy Rodriguez, an EMT with TAMECT, said most health issues at games are the result of dehydration. TAMECT saw a total of 2,000 patients for the Rice game, Rodriguez said, and about 1,600 were suffering from dehydration.
“They either pass out or they start feeling really sick and come to our stations,” Rodriguez said. “Basically, stay hydrated.”
The student workers are all volunteers, but TAMECT is funded in part by the Student Health Services, various state and local grants, as well donations from the public, which vary from year to year. Additionally, TAMECT charges $12 an hour per team for events. All money goes back to provide funds
“Several Aggie Moms Clubs have donated to us over the years, and the Association of Former Students has been very kind to us by providing new grant money,” said Matthew Scribe, TAMECT president and senior biology major.
Money goes toward replenishing stores of medication and consumable materials such as oxygen masks and gloves. Grants fund larger, more permanent items such as backboards and defibrillators and help expand TAMECT’s services.
Meenan said members of TAMECT are provided with valuable health care education and experience.
“It’s a great experience to get to work with patients and get hands-on patient care,” Meenan said. “My goal is to go to med school, so this gives me a good opportunity to learn things so that I can see if that’s what I want to do with my life.”