Macker tournament seeing fewer injuries.

June 18, 2018

Macker tournament seeing fewer injuries.

LUDINGTON — As another Gus Macker tournament is “in the books” with reflections about a great weekend of 3-on-3 street basketball, the emergency services team at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital is also reflecting on the tournament it has had a medical services presence at for over a quarter century. Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital is the official medical services provider at the Gus Macker Tournament, providing first aid to players, and assisting at the event with any medical needs that arise.

“It’s hard to believe that we’ve been the medical provider for Ludington’s Gus Macker tournament for more than 25 years,” said Nancy Harroun, manager of emergency services at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital. “This is the 27th year of Gus Macker in Ludington and the hospital has had medical personnel at Stearns Park treating injured players for 26 of those years.

“In that time, we’ve pretty much seen it all,” said Harroun. “We’ve had everything from fractured arms and legs, to skull fractures and one time, a collapsed lung. Far and away the worst situation was a 19-year old who had a sudden cardiac arrest down there. One of our medics at the time, Mary Chavalia, jumped into action on the scene until they got him to the emergency department. She saved his life, no question.”

Rob Bourgette, an RN who has worked in the emergency department at the local hospital for over 20 years and at the Gus Macker MASH-style tent for the past six years, said he recalls plenty of dislocated joints, nasal fractures and more cuts and bruises than he can count. “It’s always interesting because you have to be ready for anything, which is pretty much the nature of emergency medical services. We have that mindset in the emergency department—that you just never know what’s going to come through your doors. But down at the beach, you never know what’s going to come into the tent and you’re dealing with much more limited tools and supplies in that environment. The difference is that our job there is to provide first aid, not emergency medical services. If someone needs emergency care, we’re going to get them transferred to the hospital for treatment in the proper environment.” 

According to Harroun, the number of people treated has actually declined over the years since the tournament was moved from July to June. “There are a lot less heat-related injuries,” she said. “We’ve seen a decrease in dehydration and heat exhaustion with the mid-June tournament.”

“It was a good tournament again this year,” said Bourgette, who worked alongside nursing technician, Melissa Lemire. “Even with the rain and wet courts, we didn’t see anything too serious, and that’s just the way we like it. Our job is to be here when you need us, but hopefully, you won’t.”  



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