Bryanna Garrett ’18, a Lynchburg athletic training graduate, was featured recently on the National Athletic Trainers’ Association blog for saving the life of a cross country runner.
On a hot day in October, Garrett was working at high school cross country meet in Florida when she was called to the finish line area to help a female runner who appeared to be suffering from central nervous system dysfunction and heat-related illness.
The girl’s symptoms included slurred speech, agitation, and confusion — signs of CNS dysfunction — along with diminished sweating, rapid breathing, flushed skin, and muscle fatigue. All of the evidence pointed to exertional heat stroke, a life-threatening condition where the body’s core temperature gets too high.
According to the NATA story, “At this point, Garrett sprang into action and put her knowledge of evidence-based medicine to use. Garrett immediately recognized the signs she was observing, explained what was happening to the athlete’s mother, and asked her for permission to obtain the runner’s rectal temperature. The mother insisted that she could do what she needed to do.
“The runner was taken off to the side, where the cold tub was set up and away from the race and spectators, and was draped with a towel to maintain her privacy. The runner’s rectal temperature was 106.9 degrees Fahrenheit (41.6 degrees Celsius). With a temperature above 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.5 degrees Celsius) and CNS dysfunction present, the diagnose of exertional heat stroke was clear. Garrett quickly immersed the athlete into a cold-water tub.”
As the athlete’s body cooled down, she started showing signs of life. She was transported to the hospital for fluid and blood work, but wasn’t admitted. Thanks to Garrett’s quick response and professional knowledge, the athlete is healthy and back to running.
“Lynchburg’s athletic training program has the best professors and clinical preceptors that I could ever ask for,” Garrett said. “From learning the best practices in the classroom to applying it clinically with the preceptors, Lynchburg’s athletic training program is a ‘one of a kind.’”
During Garrett’s senior year at Lynchburg, she worked with head athletic trainer Caroline Wesley ’07 and the men’s lacrosse team. The experience gave Garrett the opportunity to use skills and information she’d learned inside and outside the classroom.
“I believe a lot of my clinical knowledge was put into use that season, in addition to learning inside the classroom,” Garrett said. “I believe the Lynchburg athletic training program really cares about your education and wants to push you to become a better you.”
Dr. Debbie Bradney, director of athletic training programs at Lynchburg, said Garrett’s story “shows how an athletic trainer’s quick actions can make a difference. She provided the highest quality care for her patient/athlete. She acted quickly and effectively. The athletic training faculty and staff are proud of how Bryanna handled herself during this medical emergency.”
Garrett is currently pursuing a master’s degree in advanced athletic training at the University of South Florida.
You can read the whole story on the NATA’s website.