Story Medical provides useful injury treatment device to Nevada Schools

Marlys Barker, Nevada Journal Editor
Nevada High School student Brooklyn Podell models the new vacuum splint given to the Nevada School District by Story Medical. Shown with Podell are (from left) Dr. Shane Higgins, Nevada Athletic Director Kyle Hutchinson and Dr. Art Check.

In a continuing effort to support the needs of the schools it serves, Story County Medical Center’s Nevada Clinic has donated a complete vacuum splint kit to the Nevada School District.

At an average cost of $600, a vacuum splint is a device that utilizes a small vacuum mattress as a temporary splint in cases of fractures or dislocation of long bones (arms and legs), elbows and ankles. It can be used for knee injuries, as well.

According to Story Medical providers, Shane Higgins and Art Check, the device works by extracting air from the splint itself to enable thousands of polystyrene balls inside the splint to mold around the injured body part, similar to an orthopedic cast.

“The advantages of the vacuum splint include the ability to provide support, while relieving pressure at the injury site and the ability to conform to any shape,” Higgins said.

Check added, “The vacuum splints are used to immobilize an athlete (or any person) when there is a fracture or dislocation… These splints will provide better rapid care to injured students in times of need.”

Nevada Schools Athletic Director Kyle Hutchinson said the vacuum splint will be available to anyone at a school-related function who needs it. “Probably that will mostly be athletes, but we wouldn’t hesitate to use it on anyone else if need be.”

The school has had some pretty significant injuries in the past that have required an ambulance, and trainers at 21st Century Rehab, who work with the school’s athletes, had suggested to school officials that it would be helpful to have this type of device to treat kids quickly when situations arise. “I am extremely appreciative of 21st Century and Story Medical’s willingness to help serve our athletes in a first-class fashion,” Hutchinson said.

Dr. Check and Higgins, who also help at high school sporting events, and have been concerned about some recent serious injuries, will train the school’s coaching staff on how to use the new splint. The splint will be kept in the school’s training room to allow access to the device for all sporting events.

Hutchinson said the school had considered purchasing a vacuum splint on its own, but because of the cost, it probably wouldn’t have happened this quickly. The gift from Story Medical’s Nevada Clinic makes it a reality a lot sooner than the school expected.

“I continue to be amazed at the commitment of Story Medical and 21st Century to our students and programs. They consistently provide the best care available to our athletes and are always looking for ways to improve and help more,” Hutchinson said. “I feel very fortunate to have a partnership of this nature.”