Medical Tents Busy Amidst Hoopfest Heat

SPOKANE — The first aid tents have been busy at Hoopfest, and volunteer nurses and doctors at each of the four tents are dealing with all sorts of injuries.

Of course, the heat has been an issue.  In fact when we were in there today a girl came in with heat exhaustion and a bad sunburn.  She was put on a stretcher and covered with ice packs.  It’s a story many players and fans this year can relate.

“Those people out there, playing the direct sunlight, it’s tough,” says volunteer Robbie Thorn.

Ice has become a simple but key supply needed in the first aid tents at Hoopfest.  With blazing temperatures this weekend, helping people cool off has been a full time job.

“Heat related injuries, we try and get their temps see what there running,” Thorn says.  “If their cohesive, if their talking to us.”

Thorn has been volunteering at Hoopfest for ten years.  She says this years heat has created some challenges.

“It gets them out of the sun, off the pavement,” she says, “because we’ve had people that have stayed on the pavement and then they can actually get a burn from staying down on the asphalt.”      

Heat isn’t the only thing roughing up players at Hoopfest.  Sometimes, the games themselves can be pretty rough.

“Abrasions, blisters, fractured arms,” Thorn says, recalling injuries she had seen.

The first aid tents are fully stocked with everything from band-aids to stretchers.  The volunteer doctors and nurses say patient safety is their first priority because getting in and out of Hoopfest even for ambulances is a challenge.

“We are concerned about those emergency ones” says Thorn, “because the accesses are obviously tough because the ambulances can’t get in.”

Quite a few people did have to be transported to the hospital.  One tent alone sent around six people on Sunday.      

Overall, there have been more than 60 people treated for dehydration, more than 300 treated for various wounds and about 20 people actually broke bones.