ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The immediate actions Buffalo Bills medical staff took to save Damar Hamlin’s life are continuing to draw greater attention to the critical and fast-growing world of sports medicine, and not just at the pro level.

These kinds of professionals are keeping our local athletes at all levels safe through preparedness and real-life training.

During Wednesday’s Rochester Institute of Technology’s men’s lacrosse game, a standard on the sidelines: a team of medical staff from Rochester Regional Health standing at the ready to jump into action at any point.

“Until Damar Hamlin went down, I mean you heard – a lot of these athletes have said, ‘I’ve never even seen anything like that, I didn’t even know that it could happen… but those of us that are in the sports medicine world and act as sports medicine physicians for the teams, we know that that could happen,” says Dr. Christine Blonski, someone who wears many hats in the sports medicine field in the region.

She’s the head team physician for all of RIT sports and athletics and is the program director for the Rochester Regional Health sports medicine training fellowship program. That program is teaching the next generation of specialty sports medicine experts.

“The job of a sports medicine physician isn’t primarily to take care of that catastrophic injury. It’s to be prepared to take care of that catastrophic injury, but the biggest part of that preparation is education and readiness,” Dr. Blonski explains.

“You have to be ready for anything and through this program, they prepare us for that. We do mock injuries out on the field and that helps us prepare for what might happen in reality,” says program Fellow, Dr. Theo Turque.

Rochester Regional medical teams provide sideline coverage at college and high school games every week in our region, specifically for high-risk sports.

“So most of the contact stuff, lacrosse, hockey, what we cover — concussions are always a big thing, acute in lacrosse, soccer, especially like ACL, anything with pivoting — those kinds of ligamentous injuries are common,” explains Fellow Dr. Kishi Patel.

“There’s a huge population of people that need to be taken care of to make sure that they’re safe to participate in sports, and to get taken care of urgently and efficiently when injuries occur,” Dr. Blonski adds.

More details about the Fellowship Program can be found HERE.