Burn Injuries – Turkey Frying Goes Wrong!

Burn Injuries – Know what to do when turkey frying goes wrong!

If you’ve never tried a deep-fried turkey, you don’t know what you are missing out on! In addition to being absolutely delicious, it only takes a fraction of the time to cook as an oven roasted turkey. However, the benefits do come with risk.

According to the National Fire Protection Association when turkey frying goes wrong it causes an average of 5 deaths, 60 injuries, and more than $15 million in property damage each year. So, unless you’ve invited your local Athletic Trainer over for Thanksgiving Dinner, make sure you read below to learn more about the different types of burns and proper first aid to treat burn injuries in the event your turkey frying experiment goes wrong.

For an example of what not to do: Watch this video!

Types of Burns

Classified as first, second, and third degree, appropriate burn treatment will vary depending on the severity and size of the injury.

first degree burn


A first-degree burn is the least severe. Specifically, it occurs when the outer layer of is damaged from touching or picking up a hot object. The skin becomes red at first, and then it eventually dries and peels. Pain from a first-degree burn typically lasts 48-72 hours before subsiding. Another common example of a first-degree burn is a sunburn.


second degree burn


Second-degree burns happen in the same way as a first-degree burn, but they are more severe. With a second-degree burn, damage occurs to the outer layer of skin, as well as parts of the inner layer of skin. Signs of a second-degree burn include blistering, white blotchy patches on the skin, possibly a deep red color, and the area may look wet and shiny. In addition, there could be swelling, and the area will be painful to the touch.

third degree burn


Third-degree burns are the most serious and require urgent medical attention. As with second-degree burns, third-degree burns damage both the inner and outer layers of the skin. Visually, the area may look dry and leathery, or the skin may appear charred, black, yellow, white or brown. Interestingly, a third-degree burn is not always painful at the time of injury. This is because of damage to the nerve endings in the area.


Treat minor burns by cooling the area under running water, or applying a cold, wet compress to the area. If possible, remove anything from the injured area that could restrict circulation such as rings, watches, belts, or tight clothing.  Apply a lotion such as aloe vera gel or other skin moisturizer. This will provide some pain relief and help reduce drying and peeling. Cover the area with a sterile bandage and wrap the area loosely with a clean bandage.

If blisters are present, do not pop them. Popping blisters creates an opening in the skin that can become a source of infection. If a blister does pop, gently clean the area with soap and water, apply an antibiotic ointment, like Neosporin, and cover with a bandage to keep it clean. Taking Tylenol or Ibuprofen can help ease the pain and swelling. Always follow the directions on the bottle for appropriate dosing.


burn first aid

If you can see that the level of damage is deep, covers an area greater than 3 inches, or covers the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks or a major joint, than you need to call 911 and seek immediate medical care. All third-degree burns as well as some second-degree burns, require immediate medical attention.

While waiting for emergency care to arrive, take steps to protect yourself, the patient, and others from further injury. First, ensure the injured person is in a safe area. Next, check the ABC’s – Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. If there is no pulse and the individual is not breathing, send someone to call 911, start CPR and continue until medical help arrives.

AIRWAY – If the person is unconscious, open the airway by putting one hand on the forehead and the other on the patients chin, then tilt the head back while lifting up the chin.

BREATHING – Look to see if the chest is rising and falling with each breath.

CIRCULATION – Check for a pulse on the neck or wrist.

Once you have confirmed that the injured person is conscious and breathing, make sure to remove any items that restrict the injured area such as jewelry or belts. Cover the burned area with a cool, moist bandage or clean cloth, but do not immerse large burns in water. Elevate the injured area, keep the patient warm, and watch for signs of shock until help arrives.

Finally, when planning your deep fried turkey feast, it is a good idea to have a small, well-stocked first aid kit and a fire extinguisher available, and make sure at least one person in your household is CPR trained. If you are not comfortable providing care, or you are not sure what the right course of action is, call 911 or go to your local urgent care or emergency room.

Be safe, give thanks and enjoy your turkey!

Written by: Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer supervisor for The Center Foundation in Bend, OR. Learn more about Stuart HERE.

The Center Foundation provides sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. We do this by placing certified athletic trainers in local high schools to keep kids safe. Learn more about our work HERE.



Deep Fryer Fires


Role of a High School Athletic Trainer

Sisters High School Athletic Trainer Alex Walker on what it means to be a high school athletic trainer. 

What does it mean to have an Athletic Trainer (AT) at your school?

An Athletic Trainer (AT) is an allied healthcare professional who cares for athletes during every practice and game.  Athletic Trainers treat and manageemergent, acute, and chronic injuries and medical conditions through examination, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. Additionally, injury prevention is a key aspect of the work we do. Part of preventing injuries, is working to ensure the conditions that athletes play and practice in are safe. For instance, Athletic Trainers monitor the weather and field conditions in order to ensure that a safe playing environment exists.

Having an AT at your school means you have a highly educated medical professional who does more than tapes ankles and gives out ice bags. The athletic trainer knows the athletes inside and out is there to take care of them if they are injured.

What makes an AT different from other medical professionals?

Athletic Trainers are at the school every day. We are a familiar face for every athlete and are the only medical professional to follow the athlete from the initial point of injury until he/she returns safely to the field, court, or track.

Athletic Trainers help decide whether follow care from a doctor is necessary or not. We guide the athlete through the rehabilitation process following injury and educate the athletes about the recovery process.

What happens when a school does not have an AT?

When a school does not have an Athletic Trainer, they are asking someone other than a trained medical professional to make medical decisions and respond to emergencies on the field. Often times a coach or parent may try to provide the services of an Athletic Trainer. While coaches have first aid and CPR training, they are not healthcare professionals.  In addition, they are being taken away from their primary role and may act with a clouded mind of wanting a specific outcome of a game.

Having an AT at your high school means that you have one designated person on the sidelines whose only job is to ensure the health and safety of the athletes.

Athletic trainers are a vital part of the high school healthcare team. We are there to take care of athletes on and off the field. Our goal is to support the athlete and make sure that their health and wellbeing are top priority. We are medical professionals that want to see every athlete thrive on and off the field.

Learn more about the education and licensing requirements to be an athletic trainer HERE.

Learn more about the importance of athletic trainers at the high school level HERE.

Written by: Alex Walker, ATC athletic trainer for The Center Foundation and Sisters High School in Sisters, OR. Learn more about Alex HERE.

The Center Foundation places dedicated athletic trainers in local high schools to provide sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. Learn more about our work HERE.



The Center Foundation Announces Sandy Visnack As New Executive Director


We are pleased to announce Sandy Visnack as the new Executive Director of The Center Foundation. Visnack brings over two decades of nonprofit management and fundraising experience, working in leadership roles as Executive Director, Development Director and Communications Director for nonprofit organizations serving youth and families in Oregon and Colorado. With her deep commitment to Central Oregon youth and demonstrated leadership, Visnack will help The Center Foundation move forward in its mission to keep kids healthy and safe in Central Oregon.


“The work of The Center Foundation is so important to our community and it is an honor to join this organization,” said Visnack. “I look forward to building upon the strong foundation that has been developed and hope to leverage new opportunities in the upcoming months.”


Visnack holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Vermont and a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Regis University in Colorado. Previous positions held include Director of Communication at NeighborImpact and Executive Director at Bend Endurance Academy. When not cheering on her daughter at mountain biking and cyclocross races, Sandy enjoys mountain biking, skiing and volunteering.


Visnack will succeed Sonja Donohue, who has retired after serving as Executive Director since 2015.


“We are grateful for Sonja’s leadership, stewardship of its programs, and development of a robust and diverse donor base over the past six years,” said Patsy Melville, The Center Foundation Board President. “Her legacy ensures that our local youth athletes will benefit from The Center Foundation’s programs for many years to come.”