North Park University Athletic Trainers, Physicians Staff Chicago Marathon

CHICAGO, Oct. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and physicians with the North Park University Athletic Training Educational Program (ATEP) will be among more than 1,300 medical volunteers working at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Oct. 7. About 30 current students from the North Park program, plus certified athletic trainers as well as other medical personnel, will meet participants as they cross the finish line, help them recover, and evaluate those that require a higher level of medical care.

The North Park ATEP has been involved with the Chicago Marathon nearly a decade, providing current students, graduates, faculty and staff a valuable laboratory experience, said Andrew Lundgren, director of the University's ATEP and associate professor. "We are part of the 'sweep team,'" he said. "Every runner has to pass through the finish line chute. We are responsible for quickly evaluating their status, as well as attending to any 'runner down' medical calls."

Lundgren explained licensed professionals and the students will assist runners as their bodies return to a stable state following the grueling 26.2-mile marathon. If any participant needs additional medical care, that person is directed to one of two medical tents that effectively serve as a hospital.

The University's relationship with the marathon originated with Dr. George Chiampas, now the medical director of the Chicago Marathon and Shamrock Shuffle, another Chicago race held in conjunction with St. Patrick's Day. Chiampas was a Fellow assigned to North Park University, where he learned about the University's ATEP.

In addition, Dr. Poonam Thaker, current North Park athletic medical director and head team physician, is responsible for 21 aid stations throughout this year's marathon course. Justin Sjovall, head athletic trainer at North Park, will lead the urgent care section of the medical tent. He said between 600 and 1,200 runners need treatment at each race. Conditions that require treatment include hyperthermia, hypothermia, "runner's collapse," electrolyte imbalances, as well as cardiac and musculoskeletal conditions.

Former University athletic medical directors and team physicians, and former Fellows assigned to the University are also volunteering at this year's marathon. Lundgren noted that a number of North Park athletic training alumni return and volunteer for the marathon each year.

SOURCE North Park University