The usual scene when a player got injured on the field used to go like this:
Player gets injured.
Player gets carried or limps off the field.
Player lays down on the sideline, in full view of thousands of spectators, while medical staff try to figure out what's wrong.
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"Imagine going to the doctor's office and getting on the table in the lobby, in front of 30 or 40 people," said Jeff Allen, director of sports medicine at UA told Bleacher Report. "Now imagine 100,000 people watching you."
Now, thanks to an invention patented by the University of Alabama, more players are getting medical help shielded from the noise and bustle of the stadium.
It's called the SidelinER, a collapsible tent that sits on the side of the field and can be quickly erected to serve as a kind if temporary, rudimentary doctor's office where medical staff can treat injured players.
“It’s taken off because physicians and athletic trainers recognize the definite need for a product like this on their sideline,” Allen said in a press release. “It’s very easy to operate and easy to use, so people see it can be beneficial.”
Allen and two former engineering students created a company called Kinematic Sports, and the university transferred the rights of the technology to the new company in 2016. A patent was filed for the device in 2015, and granted in 2018.
The tent has been used at football games since 2015, and can be seen at most college football and NFL games today.
“When the technology was presented, it was clear the idea would directly address a need in the market, so we are thrilled the SidelinER is helping improve treatment of athletes,” said Dr. Rick Swatloski, director of the Office for Technology Transfer. “UA is fortunate to have incredibly innovative faculty, staff and students who generate this and many other innovative technologies.”
Now several seasons into use, Allen said the Sideline ER is a new essential in sideline medical care.
“I clearly knew there would be a benefit to privacy, but I didn’t realize how much it would improve our medical exam on the sideline. The medical staff and the athlete are much calmer in a private environment, and we get a better medical exam than we used to get," he said.
"It's 100 percent about protecting our athletes' privacy," Washington Huskies athletic trainer Rob Scheidegger told Bleacher Report in 2016. "One of the biggest things that you see nowadays are injury reports, and our kids, you know, are 18-to-22-year-old kids, and a lot of them want to keep their protected health information to themselves. They don't necessarily want everyone to know what's going on all the time."