student  in red shirt along road sign with fake arm wound imitating a rebar through the upper arm

At the start of June 2021, Benjamin took a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course through Longleaf Wilderness Medicine. The course taught a wide variety of first aid skills, primarily focused on situations in remote environments, where advanced resources and care may be hours or days away. The course covered a lot of material, including life threatening “massive trauma” issues, spine and brain injuries, medical conditions like appendicitis or anaphylaxis, broken bones, shock, CPR and rescue breathing, mental health crises, evacuation, and handling the emotional trauma that major accidents often bring with them. The course started with online and book learning to cover the basic concepts, and then had an in-person section which lasted about forty-five hours over five days. The in-person time was spent by going over skills and practicing on each other. Benjamin played the part of both responder and victim in the many scenarios that were created. The picture here is of him with rebar through his arm, an unstable musculoskeletal injury. Responders had to attend to stabilizing it, bandaging a small cut, and most importantly focusing on a loss of memory that had occurred as part of the accident. It was important to not focus exclusively on the most obvious issue, as a possible brain injury could have been life threatening. Playing both roles gave a lot of valuable perspective on how the situations feel, and how to respond well. With this training, Benjamin plans to go on a BWCA trip with just him and a friend this summer. Hopefully he won’t use any of his new skills, but since he has them, he and his parents feel the trip will be safe.