EMRA MedWAR, Events & Activities, Wilderness Medicine

EMRA MedWAR Rolls to Record Heights in Red Rock Canyon

In its inaugural year, the 2016 EMRA MedWAR raced into the record books, with 30 competitors and nearly 40 volunteers staging a wildly successful event. (Visit our MedWAR photo galleries to see the racers in action!)

Kicking off with the sunrise in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on Oct. 19, EMRA's first-ever medical wilderness adventure race pitted 10 teams of residents against 12+ miles of desert trails, with seven medical challenge stations as well as off-trail bonus opportunities.

Competitors encountered scenarios including multi-system trauma evaluation and evacuation, mass casualty lightning strike, anaphylaxis, heat injury, and a snake bite. Teams employed various wilderness techniques and airway skills demonstrated on mannequins provided by Gaumard. The groups who completed each medical challenge with no errors continued racing; those who forgot key steps were tasked with another on-site challenge before being allowed to continue.

Scenarios were not shared in advance, and supplies were not provided; teams succeeded by anticipating and improvising. Every racer completed the course and enjoyed an awards ceremony hosted by Elvis, followed by an all-teams pizza party.

“I'm so excited to see this come together for the residents,” said Wilderness Medical Society founder Paul Auerbach, MD, MS, FACEP, of Stanford University School of Medicine. “It's a unique way to learn, and the competitors will undoubtedly use what they have learned at some point in their careers.

“I hope it will grow from here and that we can look forward to an annual event.”

The EMRA Wilderness Division collaborated with the ACEP Wilderness Medicine Section to host the race. Gaumard partnered with EMRA to provide medical equipment for the challenges. ACEP Wilderness Medicine Section Immediate Past Chair Michael Caudell, MD, FACEP, helped facilitate logistics and train proctors for each medical challenge.

Special thanks goes to Matt Horbal, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Nevada Reno, for advance scouting of the venue and for key race day support. In addition, the EMRA Wilderness Division thanks all the volunteers who made the event possible.

MedWAR Victors

Congratulations to our EMRA MedWAR winners:

*Trauma November from UCSF-SFGH technically won second place based on their final time, which was calculated by actual time to complete the course minus time awarded for successfully completing bonus challenges. Trauma November ceded to Stanford's Know When to Fold ”˜Em team in recognition of Stanford's assistance on the trail; the team provided crucial shelter-building material for Trauma November to use during the heat injury scenario – without which Trauma November would not have been able to finish the race. Kudos on this awesome display of support and camaraderie between our teams!

 MedWAR Teams

In addition to the top 3 finishing teams, the EMRA Wilderness Division congratulates all participants who spent the day making EMRA's inaugural MedWAR a success.