America's Army Game Saves Lives
Hey parents, listen up- if you want your kid to save somebody's life some day, have them play a video game. Yeah, that's right, you heard me.
According to Yahoo Games, 28-year-old Paxton Galvanek rescued two victims from an overturned SUV on the shoulder of a North Carolina highway last November. He was able to safely remove both individuals involved in the crash, and he even properly assessed and treated their wounds, which included bruises, scrapes, head trauma, and the loss of two fingers. So obviously, this guy must be a doctor or at least a medical student, correct? Well, in a manner of speaking... He learned it playing as a medic in the game, America's Army.
It's a FPS distributed by none other than the U.S. Army, so of course, it's part game and part promotional tool. But it's still a fully-fledged game that's designed to show players what a real-life soldier must do, leading them all the way from basic training to the field of battle. Now, if you want to be a medic, you can't just run around with a gun. You will be involved in several extensive training tutorials based on real-life classes before you earn that red cross. It seems like Galvanek paid attention in those classes, as he says it was America's Army that allowed him to perform the way he did.
"In the case of this accident, I evaluated the situation and placed priority on the driver of the car who had missing fingers," he said. "I then recalled that in section two of the medic training, I learned about controlled bleeding. I noticed that the wounded man had severe bleeding that he could not control. I used a towel as a dressing and asked the man to hold the towel on his wound and to raise his hand above his head to lessen the blood flow which allowed me to evaluate his other injuries which included a cut on his head."
Sounds like he knows what he's talking about. For some added irony, help arrived soon and the first on the scene was a U.S. Army soldier. But by that time, both victims were in stable condition and just waiting on the paramedics, who arrived shortly thereafter. This little event should help both the reputation of the game and the Army, don't you think? Game Project Director, Colonel Casey Wardynski praised Galvanek's actions and called him a "true hero."
"Because of the training he received in America's Army's virtual classroom, Mr. Galvanek had mastered the basics of first aid and had the confidence to take appropriate action when others might do nothing. He took the initiative to assess the situation, prioritize actions and apply the correct procedures... Paxton is a true hero."
The developers say this is actually the second time one of their players has utilized techniques learned in the game during real-life emergency situations. If you'd like to be a hero one day, maybe you want to sign up (for the game, we mean): check out America's Army. Wow, first we see video game consoles contributing to medical research with Folding@Home, and now, video game software is contributing to the heroic process of saving lives. It's such a noble industry, isn't it?
1/19/2008 Ben Dutka