ACLS and the Super Bowl

Only moments into the second quarter and already the first knee injury cast a dark pallor over the Giant’s team roster during the Super Bowl yesterday afternoon.  Commentators frequently tossed the acronym “torn ACL” about as they discussed the injured player’s status while spectators watched as he was nearly carried off the field and out of the game.


So what is with the constant barrage of acronyms used in the medical profession (and what do they all mean), you may ask?  These are letters symbolizing lengthy medical terms frequently Latin in origin and most certainly difficult to pronounce.  For example, ACL is ‘short’ for anterior cruciate ligament, aka the outside connective tissue of the knee.  A torn ACL is very painful and, as those of us watching the game witnessed, will pull even the strongest out of the biggest national football game of the year.


Yet, the title of this article contains an additional letter within its acronym leading one to believe that ACL (the outside ligament of the knee) is different than ACLS in the title.  That assumption is correct!  ACLS is another acronym utilized by medical professionals to identify an advanced training and skill set for providing life support to victims of sudden cardiac injury or death.  To be ACLS certified means that medical professional has been trained and possesses the lifesaving skills necessary to intervene on an advanced level.  Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) is not the standard Basic Life Support (BLS) or CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) program taught to the general public.  Medical professionals are trained in ACLS protocols for pre-hospital and inter-hospital emergencies.  These skills save lives and are mandatory to provide this type of advanced care.  It is with confidence, that as the patient, you can rest assured you will be in good hands should the unexpected emergency arise.


So let’s say “goodbye” to this past football season and wish those players who suffered a torn ACL a very speedy, successful recovery.  As the leaves change color and a new season of games are played out, another host of football fanatics will be glued to the their TV sets as next season’s Super Bowl gathers fans to witness the ravages of the game.  Smile a little on the inside knowing, as you hear ‘torn ACL’ announced over the TV, that the stadium medics will be treating an injured knee and not delivering advanced BLS or CPR aka ACLS.


Until then… TTFN!

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About the author

I spent 15 years as a firefighter and paramedic...

And too often I would arrive on the scene of someone unconscious, surrounded by a circle of people feeling helpless. Sometimes those people would even have CPR training but lacked the confidence and experience to act.

That’s why I started SureFire CPR. Our classes are practical and engaging – teaching you the crucial skills you need to know what to do and feel empowered to take action.

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Zack Zarrilli, Founder

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