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173rd Medical Group lends expertise to local youth mountain bike team

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jefferson Thompson
  • 173rd Fighter Wing

KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore.  -- A 173rd Fighter Wing Airman who serves in the medical group saw an opportunity to help a local mountain bike team and arranged wilderness first aid training for more than 25 Klamath Basin cyclists, Jan. 31.

Master Sgt. Wyatt Stinnett’s children cycle for the local Jackelopes, a composite team of mountain bikers who compete in the Oregon Interscholastic Cycling League. Composite refers to the fact that they are made up of students from around the local area, and range in age from 6th graders to high school seniors.

“There was some interest from amongst the kids and parents on the team after the season ended in October to do some sort of first aid training,” said Stinnett.

Initially, they looked into commercial providers for the training, but ruled it out because they require students be at least 16 due to regulations surrounding CPR certification and charge a hefty fee.

Stinnett said it was natural for him to consider the very office where he works every day, the 173rd Medical Group.  

“Well, we have medical professionals, medics, EMTs here at Kingsley Field,” he said with a smile. “Doc. Macko himself is an avid cyclist, so let me see if there is interest in some of our medical folks putting on a course for them.”

He found a number of willing volunteers, including Master Sgt. Brant Shaw, Senior Airmen Keegan Dentinger and Mason Geigle, as well as a flight doctor, who were all willing to donate their own time and with the understanding that there would be no first aid certifications.

Dr. Jeremy Macko, a flight surgeon for the wing and an avid backcountry athlete by his own admission, conducted the main session with the young mountain bikers and covered a wide range of topics centering on wilderness first aid.

In his presentation helped the riders visualize what to do after a riding accident a few miles from a vehicle in a first aid situation, saying, “broken arms, dislocations, you may need to immobilize a limb which means you need to splint them using sticks, or an old bike tube or a torn up strips of a shirt—how do you MacGyver your way into taking care of these situations?”

MacGyver being a “verb” coined by the popular television show where the main character ingeniously used things in his immediate surroundings to overcome problems.

He also asked them to consider the situation before an accident or injury happens.

“There is a smart way to mitigate risk,” he added, describing not only traditional first aid but asking them to consider surprise situations.  “How are you going to respond if you come across an angry black bear or cougar, or a western rattlesnake, which we have in this area?”

In addition to his expertise the medical group supplied several other medical paraprofessionals who conducted hands-on training for the riders.

Stinnett says he feels the whole presentation went very well and said one of the team members summed it up saying, “’When’s the next time they are gonna do this?’” as she walked out the door, “’I want to come back and do this again!’”