What Brazilian ju-jitsu and emergency medicine have in common

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Brazilian ju-jitsu and emergency medicine have a new thing in common according to new research that is being developed in Dojos.

Nathan White is an associate professor with the Department of Emergency Medicine at Harbor View Medical Center. White is also practices Brazilian Ju-Jitsu at his local Dojo. He is developing research based on specific movements and how they can halt blood loss in trauma patients.

" I was practicing ju-jitsu in class. We were doing a certain technique called knee on stomach or knee mount or knee ride, where you would excerpt pressure with your shin on the opponent's abdomen, and it occurred to me, you know, maybe that we could adapt to possibly stop bleeding if you used it on certain parts of the body," he said.

White demonstrated the basic knee ride position, which is a pinning technique used to hold an opponent down. Blood vessels emerge from the body into the extremities starting in the armpit.

"So the first thing we did is, we adapted this to the shoulder where we just moved the shin across the shoulder here, and I can apply a lot of pressure and I can be comfortable here like this," White said.

If White places his shin on the arm at the shoulder, then holds pressure on a bleeding wound, he is able to compress it while still being aware of his surroundings. The second position is for treating bleeding from the femoral artery, which emerges from the pelvis and goes down the leg on both sides.

"Now if I notice a wound in the leg that needs to be compressed, I can engage in the wound and then I can position the limb and then move my shin across the inguinal ligament here to directly compress the femoral artery where it comes out of the pelvis," he said.

White says his experience applying ju-jitsu style techniques and incorporating them in his work with emergency medicine has opened his eyes to new developments that can be used to hinder blood loss in emergency situations.