Published on April 14th, 2017 | by FII Reader


Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2017

by Gavin O’Doherty

Officials at the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE left nothing to chance in terms of safety and medical facilities for the impressive list of 39 car crews and 45 motorcycle and quad riders for the third round of the 2017 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies and the opening round of the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Cup.

The Irish team

Cross-country rallying is a gruelling endurance sport, where competitors are not only competing against each other, but also against some of the harshest weather conditions on the planet. Temperatures in the Rub Al-Khali (Empty Quarter) can reach the high forties Centigrade at this time of year and fatigue, coupled with severe dehydration, pose challenges to competitors, organisers, volunteers and medical teams alike during five days of punishing competition.

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge benefited from a 23-strong team working alongside the ATCUAE’s chief medical officer Sean Petherbridge. Abu Dhabi Aviation provided 2 Bell 412 and 1 Bell 212 helicopters. National Ambulance UAE provided Ambulances, logistic support, Paramedics and Emergency  Medical Technicians. Truly an international team Volunteers from the UK, Australia, the USA, Sweden, Ireland and Egypt consisted of doctors, paramedics, trauma specialists, and science research staff.  Many were volunteers with several years’ experience at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and, this year, they also benefited from new medical technologies.

Infra Scanners were available for the first time, enabling medical staff to check whether an injured competitor may have a possible bleed on the brain. There were also two CAERvest® (cooling vests) in each helicopter. They enable the body to be cooled rapidly and are vital for the rapid emergency treatment of heat stroke or cardiac arrest.

The Irish crew for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge were: Capt Dermot Fahy, Flight Paramedic Gavin O’Doherty, Founder of Skillshop Jonah Roach and Dr. James Mc Bride

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