McLaren Greater Lansing Provides First Aid During MSU Home Football Games

Game day for college football fans is an exciting day. Visitors wearing green and white pile into the Michigan State University (MSU) Stadium ready to cheer on their team. There is a lot that goes into the day from ticket sales to concessions. For McLaren Greater Lansing’s emergency department, it’s handling the first aid stations.

The Spartan Stadium can pack in around 75,000 fans. Common incidents seen at sporting events include dehydration; minor injuries from cuts, falls and scrapes; and even bee stings, along with more serious medical emergencies.

“During this season, we’ve seen between 20 to 80 people per game,” said Angela Ackley, director of patient care services at McLaren Greater Lansing. “We provide general first aid, alongside Emergency Medical Service (EMS) agencies and police officers.”

McLaren staff delivers first aid in three different rooms throughout the stadium, each staffed with a registered nurse and an emergency technician. They also have an additional emergency technician who acts as the main communication point with an incident command center.

“We’ve passed out a lot of Band-Aids, cleaned and dressed wounds, and provided a safe place for those who need medical assistance,” said Ackley. “That may be for those who have indulged in a little too much alcohol or [who are] dealing with heat-related illnesses and allergic reactions. We’ve also been able to start treatment for medical emergencies for visitors suffering from chest pain, weakness, and fainting.”

This was the first year that MSU started selling alcohol in the stadium, following a recent change in the state law that permits liquor licenses to be issued at sporting events at public universities. The effort is aimed at reducing the likelihood of binge drinking prior to games. While incidents do still occur in large crowd settings, having professional emergency responders there when needed is important. 

Ackley said it has been a positive experience for her department.   

“The staff have enjoyed being able to provide medical services to our community as a way of supporting and giving back,” said Ackley. “At the game, there is an exhilarating feeling in the atmosphere; a sense of teamwork, and it has helped strengthen our relationships with other first responders that is in a different setting than the hospital, collaboratively working together to help others.”

McLaren Greater Lansing’s emergency department is a level three trauma center and certified primary stroke center. It is staffed by 24-hour emergency medicine physicians, general surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, and radiologists. To learn more, click here.

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