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High School injuries

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mudbone, Oct 6, 2007.

  1. Mudbone

    Mudbone New Member

    Sorry if this topic has been repeated. Did a quick search for HIPAA and nothing came up.

    Kid gets hurt at a high school football game. It looks like a head injury, they put him in a neck brace and take him off the field on a stretcher. He's waving his arms, looks like he'll be fine.

    I'm on the field and ask the school trainers was it a neck/head injury, what type of condition he's in. They say they can't say anything because of HIPAA. I ask the team doctor, he says the same thing. After the game I go down and ask the coach. He says HIPAA won't allow him to say what kind of injury this kid has.

    What basic information are we allowed to get from trainers about this kind of stuff, and whom should I get it from?
  2. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    The most sure-fire source of injury information, even at the college level these days, are the parents. They can tell you whatever you want to know. And I've found that most of the time, they are eager to tell you. Especially if it's a situation like you described, where it looks like he's going to be OK.

    If you couldn't locate the parents immediately at the game, I would have reported exactly what you told me: He was carted off the field on a stretcher and in a neck brace, but had significant movement in his arms and what not. If you could get a coach to tell you, "Aw, he'll be fine" -- that would help, too.
  3. hankschu

    hankschu Member

    Covering Major League Baseball, I've had a lot of experience with the HIPPA issue this year.

    Last winter, teams were told that their medical staff -- doctors and trainers -- could not provide medical information on players unless they sign a HIPPA waiver, which most players did. However, other members of the team staff are not bound by HIPPA, so trainers could tell the manager and the manager could tell us.

    So, yes, the coach is allowed to discuss a player's injury. I agree with the previous poster that in the case of a high school player it's best to get the information from parents.
  4. I've actually written a pretty in-depth piece on HIPAA for a clase and Hank's understanding is the same as mine.
    The medical staff is actually bound by it (though almost all college athletes sign a waiver anyway). Coaches aren't bound.
    Many of the college coaches know that but still use it as an excuse to try to keep injury information from getting out.
    Also, HIPAA has zero bearing on us. We can report anything we find out. It's not our fault if a doctor/trainer says something they shouldn't.
  5. I had a similar situation a few weeks back. A player gets injured during the game, but I can see him make effort as they turn him over. They take him out on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance that doesn't leave immediately.

    At halftime, I run downstairs and the trainers won't tell me a thing (although the only thing I didn't really know at that point was where they were taking him to, but she ended up telling somebody next to her about ten seconds after she shut me down). I can see him through the ambulance window and he was moving his fingers and hands.

    At the end of the game, the coach tells me the last word was he was fine and it was precautionary since the player complained about neck pain.
  6. You guys are right on. Too many people pull HIPAA out of their ass.
  7. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    What I do in these situations is to call the office and have someone make initial contact with the shift supervisor or spokesman at the hospital.
  8. Does that really work for you? I'm lucky to get a condition the night of, especially if they're underage. A better tip would be to call the EMS station that delivered the guy to the hospital. They can't give you the name (don't indicate you know it) but they can give tell you what was wrong with him.
  9. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    My experience is that you get a condition and at least some mention of the body part.

    If a kid goes off on a stretcher with a neck brace, you have generally established the injury, and "good condition" is enough to say he's OK.

    Local ambulance or EMS that I deal with won't even talk to the paper. (These are not city-run enits like New York City).
  10. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    Addendum. First of all, yours is a good point if things work that way.

    The other thought is to make sure someone's listening to the scanner (or ask someone in the newsroom). You will get the info that way if you are quick enough.
  11. Hospitals in our state will give one word conditions if they are admitted. If they're not admitted - they're in the ER for instance - we don't usually get a condition. Of course, I'm normally covering gunshot victims, not hs football players.
  12. chazp

    chazp Active Member

    Some states have enacted laws concerning reporting injuries. You need to be careful with this and make sure the information comes from the parents or the player him/herself.
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