Perhaps it is appropriate that National Athletic Training Month (NATM) coincides with March Madness. Just when a team is on the verge of postseason success, that potential for “One Shining Moment” is seemingly shattered when a key player crashes to the court.
Until the athletic trainer comes to the rescue, that is. Evaluating the player, determining if a return to play is safe, and then devising an appropriate treatment to assure the return, be it in that game or a following contest while the playoff run continues.
Such was the case Saturday night when Griffith High School star Tremell Murphy rolled his right ankle late in the third quarter of the Hammond Civic Center Sectional Championship Game with Hammond High. Three game clock minutes later, though, he was back and radio broadcasters were crediting Griffith athletic trainer Jessica Whalley for Murphy’s return
He would finish with a game-high 22 points in the Panthers’ 65-53 victory.
Winning is great but ultimately, for the athletic trainer, it is all about safety. Thus the NATM slogan for this year is, “A Safer Approach to Work, Life and Sport.”
In keeping with that theme, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) is co-hosting the 7th Annual Youth Sports Safety Summit with the Youth Sports Safety Alliance in Washington, D.C., March 14-15.
The keynote speaker will be Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) whose address is entitled, “Brain Injuries – A National Discussion Has Emerged.”
According to an NATA press release, “As the co-Chairman and founder of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, (Pascrell) has raised the nation’s awareness of the dangers of traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI was identified as the “signature injury” among soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Bill has worked to make sure that our soldiers are properly screened and diagnosed for concussions.
“After the tragic death of Montclair High School (NJ) football player Ryne Dougherty in 2008, (Pascrell’s) efforts against the dangers of TBI have expanded to help protect young athletes. On Sept. 30, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed (Pascrell’s) Concussion Treatment and Care Tools (ConTACT) Act. The legislation calls for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop guidelines and protocols for the management and treatment of sports-related concussions for the benefit of the nation’s student-athletes.”
Other topics to be covered during the summit are the NFL sports safety initiatives, opiate abuse among teenage athletes, prevention of pediatric overuse injuries, mental health concerns and strategies for student athletes, and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ statement on tackling in youth football.
Look for details of the conference in this space starting two weeks from now.
Congratulations to East Chicago Central athletic trainer Kevin LaBombard, whose team won the East Chicago Sectional during his final game at the John Baratto Athletic Center. At halftime of the Cardinals’ 71-53 win over Lowell, he was recognized for his 10 years of service to the school. LaBombard will be retiring at the end of the school year. What a way to end it.