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Posted: May 1, 2009  : Add to Mixx!

Athletics: UPMC Sports Medicine-led Medical Team Prepares For More Than 10,500 Pittsburgh Marathon Participants

PITTSBURGH, May 1 -- UPMC Sports Medicine has assembled a team of more than 350 medical volunteers from UPMC, other local hospitals, City of Pittsburgh EMS and other local EMS bureaus to care for more than 10,500 participants at the May 3 Dick's Sporting Goods/Pittsburgh Marathon.

"We expect that about one to three percent of all participants will seek or require medical team care on race day," said Ronald Roth, M.D., a UPMC emergency medicine physician and the marathon's medical director. "Weather conditions always impact the number and types of injuries and illness we will see, but thankfully, it looks like the weather will be in the 50's on race day, which is good for marathon runners and should help to minimize heat-related illnesses."

Dr. Roth will receive periodic weather updates on race day and use a flag system, developed by the American College of Sports Medicine, that signals weather conditions and precautions for runners. The flags will be displayed at each of the 18 medical aid stations throughout the race course.

Most injuries and illnesses involving marathoners are not serious. Runners' most common problems include muscle cramping, overuse sprains and strains, blisters, stomach cramping and inadequate fluid replacement.

"The medical team is prepared with enough equipment and personnel to staff 18 medical aid stations throughout the race course and a medical area at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, said Kathleen Nachazel, a certified athletic trainer at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine and the marathon's medical operations manager. "The medical area will include specialized sections for sports medicine, acute care, general medicine and an area designated for the wheelchair athletes."

The medical team is made up of physicians, nurses, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, certified athletic trainers, physical therapists, massage therapists and medical, nursing and certified athletic training students, who are volunteering their time and skill to the marathon. UPMC departments taking a lead role are the Center for Sports Medicine and Department of Emergency Medicine.

As medical sponsor of the Dick's Sporting Goods/Pittsburgh Marathon, UPMC Sports Medicine had provided free training seminars to runners and will provide medical support along the race course and at the start and finish lines. With UPMC's Department of Emergency Medicine, UPMC Sports Medicine has assembled a team of more than 350 volunteers from UPMC, other local hospitals, the City of Pittsburgh's Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and other local EMS departments to provide medical care for more than 10,500 registrants. UPMC is the official medical provider for the event, as it has been since the first Pittsburgh Marathon in 1985.

For more information about the Dick's Sporting Goods/Pittsburgh Marathon, please visit

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