As you may recall, I previously overviewed two of our proactive policies within the USA Fencing SafeSport Policy. Specifically, we shined a spotlight on the Travel Policy and the Social Media and Electronic Communication Policy to increase your awareness of the policies and arm you with knowledge to help create a safe and healthy environment for our athletes. We’re not done!
The spotlight is shining once again as we peer into the USA Fencing policy on medical treatment. It seems an appropriate time to do so with the competitive season upon us. And, with increased training and competition comes (unfortunately) aches, pains, pulls, tweaks and breaks. We want to ensure our fencers have a safe, positive and productive experience when working with medical professionals within our sport.
Have you read the policy on medical treatment recently? It was revised in February of 2018, so provisions may have changed since the last time you read the document. Take a look now (USA Fencing SafeSport Policy, p. 29-30); then let’s highlight some important elements of the policy:
- Check certification.
Only individuals who hold current certification as a healthcare provider (i.e., MD, ATC, PT, LMT) may provide medical treatment at sanctioned USA Fencing events and activities. Furthermore, covered individuals who do not have a license or certification may NOT provide treatment to USA Fencing members in connection with any competition, camp, club or training activity. This is to ensure that individuals providing any sort of medical treatment to our fencers are licensed to do so.
- Got consent?
Individuals receiving treatment need to sign a consent form and minors must have the consent form signed by a parent. Fencers or their parents need to make an informed decision regarding receiving the medical treatment. Parents, make sure you are giving consent for any treatment received by your child if they are under 18.
- What’s the attire?
Regardless of the treatment or medical issue, at a minimum, individuals should wear shorts and females should also have on an athletic bra.
- Keep the treatment in the open.
Medical treatment at USA Fencing clubs, competitions and activities should be conducted in an open or public area. After reading the statement, you probably have a vision of an athlete on a medical table in the middle of the venue and have questions about privacy, right? Picture it differently. At NACs, the medical tent is in a corner of the venue with curtains on four sides that can be moved back and forth so the athlete has privacy but it is still in a public space. If the curtains are closed due to a privacy request from the athlete, another adult is in the area at all times. When no such open or public space exists, be sure to have another adult in the room during the treatment.
- Be realistic.
Minor medical issues arise and medical professionals may not be available. Injuries happen. In such situations, it is acceptable for a coach, club volunteer or other non-medical professional to bandage a cut or treat a muscle spasm. But keep it in the open and observable by others.
Club owners, coaches, parents: Read the policy in its entirely to educate yourself so you can make informed decisions regarding medical treatment and to effectively educate your fencers on a safe treatment environment.