The city pubic high schools finally have athletic trainers
It happened. The Board of Alderman said yes. It’s historic. The city pubic high schools finally have athletic trainers.
Monday night the board approved by unanimous vote a three-year contract with Select Physical Therapy, a Pennsylvania firm with offices in 32 states, and now one on Sharon Road in Waterbury, too.
The contract is not to exceed $264,000, which breaks down to $88,000 per year. Select Physical Therapy will have one trainer at three city public high schools for 75 hours per week, total, or 25 hours each week at Crosby, Kennedy and Wilby high schools.
Joe Gorman, the district supervisor for health and physical education, said that the city’s fourth public high school, Waterbury Career Academy, was not involved in the bid because its sports programs had not been accepted into the Naugatuck Valley League when the process began, and many programs are still not at the varsity level, then or now. Gorman said that a plan to share trainers with Career Academy is possible.
The contract does have an option to extend, and a fourth trainer is possible, he said, but only through another round of board approvals down the road.
“I am very, very pleased with the numbers,” Gorman said Tuesday of the contract figures. “They are in the range that we expected, and to have three trainers in the city for a total of 75 hours per week is a home run.”
The timeline to get those trainers into the schools is not firm.
“We hope to have all contracts signed within the next three weeks,” Gorman said.
Select Physical Therapy has started the hiring process, Gorman added, and trainers should come on board during this school year.
“This is a great stride forward,” said Board of Alderman president Paul Pernerewski, who added that the addition of trainers will make playing fields safer for city athletes. “They play their hearts out, and we want to help them do it as safely as possible. I am very happy we got this through.”
So is Wilby athletic director Steve Baldwin.
“It passed?” Baldwin asked Tuesday. “That is fantastic.”
“We have new state mandates on concussions and sudden cardiac arrest,” Baldwin explained. “A trainer reports all injuries to a national database, and with that hard data we can see where the injuries are happening.”
We are not yet two weeks into the fall season, “and we have many injuries and no one for the athletes to see. This is awesome,” added Baldwin.
Game coverage and daily schedules will be determined by athletic directors. Trainers will cover all sports, Gorman said with emphasis. This is not just for the football team.
“We require flexible scheduling for the needs of all our athletes,” Gorman said. “This will not be dominated by one sport, but it is for women’s teams, unified teams, volleyball, swimming, tennis, all sports.
“I am very, very pleased,” added a gleeful Gorman.
It has been a journey. For a time the only sports in the city covered by medical personnel were football and boys basketball. For the past three years Advanced Physical Therapy worked with city athletes, but under a limited contract that covered each school one day a week.
“One day was not enough,” Gorman said, “but for the services they rendered for a small amount of money, they don’t owe us a thing.”
But athletes need more than one day, two hours. Soon, city public school athletes will have the same access to trainers that most high school athletes take for granted.
It took time. Too much time. That was wrong. Soon it will be right.
“The district has set a precedent,” Gorman said. “Basically, we made history.”
See, everybody thinks so.