First aid rolled out for helpers

By Kelsey Wilkie

Volunteers for the NZ Masters Games took part in a first aid course which may be truly life-saving for some of the 4000 people taking part.

The co-ordinators in charge of the less physically demanding sports undertake first aid training so they are able to help with any health issue raised during the games. The courses are taught by St John.

Each team is expected to have at least one team member with a current first aid certificate as a way to reduce any risk of injury to a player, Games general manager Mike Cronin said.

Mr Cronin says there have been fatalities in the past.

Dave Welch has volunteered every two years since the first time the Games started in Wanganui in 2007.

Mr Welch is the table tennis coordinator and says the worst injury he has seen is someone faint and hit the concrete wall behind them.

Heat exhaustion and dehydration are the most common problems, he said.

"Make sure you drink plenty of water. The game can stop if it means saving someone from getting injured."

More physically demanding sports such as mountain biking, indoor rowing or netball have a higher risk of injury, and these sports require a fully qualified paramedic in attendance for the Games.

As the competitors get older and push themselves harder, the risk of injury rises, Masters Games volunteer Brian Algar said.

"I can't think of specific cases, but I'm sure there have been broken legs and cuts and things." The Games run from February 1 to 10. They include 55 different sports with more than 2400 individual events. More than 4250 people have entered so far. Entrants take part in multiple events.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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