Injuries are a huge part of sports and can make the difference between winning and losing.
And while certified athletic trainers play a large role in both individual and team success, their No. 1 priority is the overall health and well-being of their athletes.
In this episode of ‘Most Valuable Podcaster,’ Tom Lawrence – the head athletic trainer at Kellogg Community College and St. Philip Catholic Central High School – and his son Andy Lawrence – the head athletic trainer at Albion College – talk about what their job entails.
“I love being able to have unique individual relationships with all these different students. That’s the most fun for me,” Andy Lawrence said. “I work with a variety of sports, so there is a variety of different kinds of athletes from different backgrounds and it’s so much fun to get to know them and kind of help them along their journey in becoming a successful student-athlete.”
Added Tom Lawrence, “The best thing is seeing somebody get back on the field maybe a couple weeks earlier than they would have if you hadn’t been there… That’s one of the most rewarding things for me – is taking care of people and getting them back on the field doing what they love to do, whether it’s a weekend warrior or one of my athletes at my schools.”
The father/son pair also discussed concussions and the growing awareness about the serious nature of the brain injury.
“The concussion red lights have gotten brighter,” Tom Lawrence said. “Any one of the things we’re looking at after a kid comes off the field and is looking suspicious, we’ll hold them out the rest of the game.”
While both acknowledged there is still a lot to be learned about concussions, Andy Lawrence said trusting a certified athletic trainer is the best way for athletes to help prevent worsening the injury.
“If they trust me, I feel like they will come and tell me if there heads are bothering them if they actually do have a concussion,” he said. “There are certain athletes that would want to try and hide it and would want to continue to play. I’m not going to lie, I would have been one of them. If I would have gotten hit, I wouldn’t have told (Tom Lawrence) my head hurt.
“The way the NCAA and different organizations like the NFL are going, if there is symptoms with a mechanism of injury, it’s hard for us not to call it a concussion. It’s not the old-school days where, ‘It’s a ‘dinger’ and I have a little headache but I’m fine.’ That doesn’t work anymore.”
Nick Buckley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 269-966-0652. Follow him on Twitter:@NickJBuckley