Players from the Women’s Trowbridge Rugby team in England paused their practice to intervene and help save the lives of people injured in a serious traffic collision. There are some things we can learn from this August 8th incident, as reported by the Independant.
A Traffic Collision During Rugby Practice—
A women’s rugby team has been praised after its members used “boot laces as tourniquets” to save four people from a car crash they witnessed.
The Women’s Trowbridge Rugby Team were completing their regular training in a field opposite when they heard the collision on Wednesday (8 August) evening.
Rugby Team is Willing to Help—
Rushing to the scene to investigate, they found a vehicle turned on its side which had been carrying four people—two of which were just 16. Two had already managed to escape the scene, but the driver and front passenger were still trapped inside.
With varying injuries, some of which were life-threatening, the team organised en masse to help in a decision that “undoubtedly saved lives.”
Organising the fifteen to twenty-strong team, the players mobilised to “triage the casualties”, constructing a “makeshift tourniquet from their rugby boot laces and players’ shirts” to treat a “catastrophic” bleed one of the passengers had to the arm.
Elsewhere, the players supported the heads of two other casualties in case of spinal injuries, using foot mats, pieces of carpet and a duvet to support the passengers and keep them away from the cold ground.
Emergency Personal Arrive—
When the emergency services arrived, they were directed to the scene by spotters placed on the main road by the group and assisted in treating the passengers, “holding IV lines, torches and continuing their reassurance to the casualties.”
“Without their assistance this could have very easily been fatal. It was a fantastic effort by this rugby team in assisting”, Trowbridge Police said.
“It was humbling seeing members of public coming together in order to help out fellow citizens.”
Meanwhile, Trowbridge Senior Ladies praised the group for their bravery, labelling them “heroes.”
“They climbed over a barbed wire fence and crawled through bushes of stinging nettles to provide lifesaving first aid to the people in the car”, a statement posted to the club’s Instagram page read. “The team wishes all four people a speedy recovery!”
Preparing the mind:
First, we shouldn't overlook the ladies' willingness to intervene and help strangers. Not everyone will pause what they are doing and help a stranger. At the same time, there are times when we shouldn't get physically involved in a third party incident. Have you thought about what it would take for you to intervene in an incident? That's your choice, and you should have a basic framework for how you decide to intervene.
Preparing with gear:
We see the team applied an improvised tourniquet made from boot laces to the injured person's bleeding arm. Based on the article, I don't know if the tourniquet was absolutely necessary or not. But that's besides the point, and we will assume that it was a major bleeding injury requiring more than direct pressure.
We also don't know if the boot laces actually were effective at stopping the bleeding, if it slowed it down, or had any real effect at all. Again, we will just take what the reporting says, and presume that if the lades had not applied the boot laces as an improvised tourniquet, the patient may have bled to death.
If you've determined what types of incidents you're willing to involve yourself in, then you should have the best tools to succeed in those situations. If it's self-defense, consider tools like a firearm, or less lethal. Here, a medical intervention, you need proper trauma gear.
We see in this case; the team uses an improvised tourniquet we're assuming worked and was the deciding factor in the patient surviving. That's a lot of assumptions based on the limited detail. Nevertheless, it shows that if you don't have proper trauma gear, the NEXT BEST thing is to improvise with what you have.
Improvisation is great, and we should be able to think and problem solve in the heat of the moment. The problem is when improvisation is your plan A. So carrying some trauma gear based on the injuries you're likely to intervene in would be a wise way to prepare for the unexpected.
Preparing with training:
Thinking about if we are willing to intervene and carrying the right gear to respond gets us almost there. We need to learn the skills necessary to apply both the concepts and gear to problem solve the incident. In this case it seems like the team did well triaging the patients.
Triage is just a fancy word for prioritizing treatment of casualties based on severity of injury and your ability to treat them.
I'm presuming that the rugby team has dealt with many injured people suspected of concussions, broken bones or internal injuries. It seems like this might have helped direct their actions, mainly: “Elsewhere, the players supported the heads of two other casualties in case of spinal injuries”.
If you carry a firearm for self-defense, you owe it to yourself and those around you to train and maintain at least a basic competency with the firearm. You may do more harm than good if you bring a gun into a fight and don't know how to both use it in a defensive context and maintain control during the incident.
For medical interventions like this, training is pretty simple and straightforward. Not only does Mountain Man Medical sell affordable and customizable trauma kits, they also provide a free online training course that teaches how to use the gear to triage and treat a patient until EMS arrives.
Kudos to the Women’s Trowbridge Rugby team for stepping up and stepping in to help complete strangers. I presume most people reading this have an inclination to help and defend those who can't help or defend themselves. If we are willing to intervene with deadly force to save someone's life, or pull off the side of the road to help an injured motorist, shouldn't we also be able to take a moment to hold the door open for someone, or give a kind word when we see someone hurting? My point is if we are willing to do the big things to help, how much easier should it be to do the small things? It's good for them, and it's good for you too.