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Angel athletes offer medical aid to fellow competitors

Publication Date: March 29, 2017 | 
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Ironmedic volunteers pose at a marathon March 12 on Liouciou Island off southwestern Taiwan. (Courtesy of Chen Yen-liang)
Ironmedic, a group of altruistic amateur athletes dedicated to providing first aid to fellow participants in marathons, triathlons or cycling events, is on track to become the first organization of its kind in Taiwan to be registered with the government as an association this summer. 
 
Founded in May 2016, the group is made up of licensed doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians with experience in the above-mentioned race categories. To date it has recruited 117 members, who take part in athletic events but stand ready to provide emergency aid when needed.    
 
Scattered around Taiwan, these members interact with each other and establish divisions of labor for each competition mainly through the Line messaging app.
 
According to Ironmedic founder Chen Yen-liang, up to 33 Ironmedic members take part in each competition. Three of them are supervisors, including one who is responsible for ensuring all participating members arrive on time. The remaining two leaders are in charge of medical supplies and also make sure the participating members are evenly distributed among the competitors.        
 
“I’ve always sought victory in long-distance competitions, but now I’m a changed man. I feel much more fulfilled because of the services I give to others,” said Chen, who is a marathoner, triathlete, certified EMT and university lecturer.  “It’s also great to work with other energetic, big-hearted people.”
 
Organizers of sporting events usually hire medical personnel to take care of participating athletes, but Chen noted that Ironmedic is different from a traditional medical team. “We’re athletes, so we know what fellow runners or cyclists need if they get injured during a race.”  
 
Ironmedic volunteers on average give assistance to between 100-200 competitors in events with more than 10,000 participants, Chen said. They provide timely, professional and non-invasive treatment to those with minor ailments, from cramps and flesh wounds to more serious issues like shock and heat exhaustion. In return, event organizers offer the volunteers free entry, though they are not eligible to medal in the events.
 
Ironmedic’s role is poised to grow as people in Taiwan are increasingly taking part in long-distance races. According to Chen, about 350 to 400 such events take place in Taiwan every year, 80 percent of which are marathons. The group plans to provide services at 62 select races this year, up from 39 in 2016. (OC-E)  
 
Write to Taiwan Today at ttonline@mofa.gov.tw

天使般的運動員提供參賽選手醫療救護

2017年3月12日的小琉球馬拉松賽前,醫護鐵人的志工們於台灣西南方小琉球島嶼上攝影留念。

醫護鐵人由一群無私的業餘運動員所組成團隊,他們致力於提供參賽者們緊急救護,其中囊括馬拉松、鐵人三項運動、單車馬拉松。今夏,該團隊將成為在這類中第一個由台灣政府立案的協會。 

該團隊於2016年5月成立,由一群具有上述運動經驗的合格且具執照之醫師、護士、緊急醫療技術員所組成。目前為止,該團隊共有117名會員,這些會員們透過參與運動賽事,同時在需要時提供緊急救護。
 
分散於全台的會員們,主要透過LINE通訊軟體上相互連繫,並在每個賽事上相互分工。 

據醫護鐵人的創辦人陳彥良表示,平均每場賽事中,有多達33個會員參與。其中3名是帶隊幹部,1名則負責確保所有會員按時抵達,其餘兩名分別負責醫療用品分發和確保醫鐵會員均勻地分散在參賽者中。 

陳彥良表示“我以前總是在長距離耐力比賽中尋求勝利,但我現在變了。我因為服務他人而感到更充實”。陳彥良是一位馬拉松跑者、三鐵運動員、合格的緊急醫療技術員(EMT)及大學講師。"能和其他精力充沛且富有愛心的人共事真是太好了." 

賽事籌辦人通常會去聘請醫護人員來照護參賽人員,但陳彥良指出,醫護鐵人和傳統醫護團隊在於“我們是運動員,所以我們知道參賽的跑者或車手在賽中受傷時的需要。" 

在超過一萬人的賽事中,醫護鐵人志工們平均救助100到200個參賽者。陳彥良說道,他們提供即時性,專業和非侵入性的治療給這些傷患,從像抽筋到擦傷這類輕微傷患,甚至到更嚴重的傷患,例如休克及熱衰竭。賽事主辦大會提供免費名額參賽作為回報,雖然不能獲得名次。 

隨著越來越多台灣人參與長程運動競賽,醫護鐵人的角色逐漸顯為重要。根據陳彥良所說,台灣每年有大約350到400左右的賽事,其中8成是馬拉松活動.醫護鐵人今年將計畫從去年的39場的支援提升到62場。

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