Rail Jam provides perfect event to treat the injured
While CU students loved watching their peers fling themselves off giant rails at Boulder Freeride’s Rail Jam, Thursday Feb. 7, they may not know that other CU students are standing by to support daring skiers and riders.
Student Emergency Medical Services is a group of about 25 active emergency medical technician volunteers who attend events such as Rail Jam, acting as an immediate response team if a participant sprains an ankle, dislocates a shoulder or even becomes unconscious, said Milton Lerman, SEMS’s logistics officer.
“We just don’t want to see anyone get hurt,” said Shawn Thayer a senior integrative physiology major and volunteer with SEMS.
At Rail Jam, four SEMS volunteers planned to set up a tent and then hang out around the rail structure wearing EMT coats. The volunteers are there to provide medical treatment until a patient is ready to be released or until an ambulance arrives.
Injuries at past rail jams at CU haven’t been serious according to Boulder Freeride.
“Some wrist problems and a lot of bruises are what we’ve so far at rail jams on campus,” said Freeride member Rebecca Sedler, a junior advertising major.
SEMS services are free to anyone who stops by; their offices are located in room 443 of the UMC.
“In the medical world, that’s really unheard of,” said SEMS president Darren Murphy, a senior psychology major.
Free does not mean unsafe or under-qualified though; SEMS volunteers have EMT licenses and are certified through the state of Colorado.
They also work under the medical license of Joseph Young, an emergency physician who works in Houston and is a sociology professor at CU, Murphy said.
SEMS began after the death of Lynn Gordon “Gordie” Bailey Jr. in 2004 when few of the seniors from Bailey’s fraternity decided to start staffing Greek parties to prevent another alcohol-related death, Murphy said.
Now, he said, SEMS attends any CU-related event that they are invited to, including fraternity and sorority parties, rugby games and bike events.
“We’re really not picky,” Murphy said.
For the volunteers, payback comes in the form of much needed hands-on experience.
“There aren’t a lot of other opportunities to use our EMT skills,” Thayer said.
For the many volunteers who are looking to go on to medical school, medical experience with SEMS also provides a potential resume point, Thayer said. Resume-building isn’t the only benefit the volunteers get out of the experience though.
“The students are very, very appreciative and we get a lot of thanks at parties,” Murphy said. “And when you actually save a life, that’s even better.”
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Emery Cowan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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