New Running USA Guide: Medical Operations for Road Races
This comprehensive guide from Dr. William O. Roberts, medical director of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, covers the basics of race day medical planning and preparation
All road races, including smaller races, should develop a medical plan for runner safety that has a written set of safety parameters. Dr. William O. Roberts (pictured), medical director of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, has written a new operations guide for Running USA that covers the basics of race day medical planning and preparation.
Dr. Roberts is a Professor and the Director of Faculty Affairs in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn. He also serves as the Medical Director for the annual Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis, and in that role has developed his expertise in medical operations for road races.
Managing medical operations for road races is not as simple as staffing a medical tent. Because of the possible impacts on the greater community medical system if mass medical emergencies were to occur during the event, comprehensive planning must take place to ensure appropriate care for event participants and lack of impact on the local area care system.
Takeaways and topics covered in the Medical Operations for Road Races guide include:
- Road race operations plans should include a written set of safety parameters agreed upon in advance with contingencies for heat, lightning, high winds, cold, and other concerns
- From 5K to 100K, the causes of runner collapse are similar, but the list of life-threatening medical problems changes with increasing distance and increasing heat stress
- A listing of the most common injuries and afflictions suffered by runners in race conditions and basic information about how to prepare to treat them
- Information on monitoring weather conditions and how to anticipate associated medical incidents
- Guidelines for responding to instances of cardiac arrest on the event course
- Insight on when to discharge a patient from the medical tent, and when to send them to the hospital
- Staffing parameters for medical response, and how to use untrained volunteers
- Communications protocols and preparation
- Use of technology in medical incident response
- A sample medical record
The guide by Dr. Roberts can be downloaded below and is free for Running USA members. Log into the website before beginning the download process. If you have questions or need assistance, email Running USA.