Silver Springs, Md. (Army News Service, January 17, 2008) -- A longtime player of the game "America's Army" became a first responder following a car accident in November when he employed the life-saving techniques he learned by playing the video game.
Paxton Galvanek was driving westbound on I-40 in North Carolina with his family. About 25 miles south of Raleigh, he witnessed a sports utility vehicle in the eastbound lanes flip about five times. While his wife called 911, Galvanek stopped his vehicle and ran across the highway to the scene of the accident.
Assuming the role of first responder, Galvanek quickly assessed the situation and found two victims in the smoking vehicle. Needing to extract them quickly, he first helped the passenger out of the truck. The passenger had minor cuts and injuries. Galvanek told the man to stay clear of the car and then went quickly to the driver's side. He pulled the driver to safety on the side of the road.
Using knowledge he learned from playing "America's Army," Galvanek knew he had to prioritize the situation, choosing which of the wounded travelers would need to be tended to immediately.
"I remember vividly in section four of the game's medic training, during the field medic scenarios, I had to evaluate the situation and place priority on the more critically wounded," Galvanek said. "In the case of this accident, I evaluated the situation and placed priority on the driver of the car, who had missing fingers."
The driver of the vehicle had lost two fingers in the accident and was bleeding profusely. He had also suffered head trauma. Galvanek used what he learned from the game to give immediate aid to the driver.
"I recalled that in section two of the medic training, I learned about controlled bleeding," he said. "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. I also evaluated his other injuries -- which included a cut on his head."
Roughly five minutes later, an Army Soldier in plain clothing arrived on the scene of the accident. The Soldier was medically trained and let Galvanek know he could take over until paramedics arrived. He also said Galvanek had done a great job in handling the situation.
After the incident, Galvanek wrote the America's Army team to thank them for including the medical training in the game. He credited the combat medic training portion of the game with teaching him the critical skills he needed to evaluate and treat the victims at the scene of the accident.
"I have received no prior medical training and so can honestly say that because of the training and presentations within America's Army, I was able to help and possibly save the injured men," he said. "As I look back on the events of that day, the training that I received in the America's Army video game keeps coming to mind."
This is the second time an America's Army player has reported successfully using medical skills learned through playing the game to respond in a life-threatening situation.
Launched on July 4, 2002, America's Army is an innovative PC action game that provides young adults with an inside perspective and a virtual role in today's high-tech Army. Through the America's Army game, players take a virtual "test drive" of Soldiering in the U.S. Army from basic training to the battlefield in the Global War on Terrorism.
As part of the game, players may assume the role of combat medic. In order to assume that role, players must go through virtual medical training classes based on the actual training that real Soldiers receive.