Six area high schools may gain a second athletic trainer next year, which means Horry County Schools must budget nearly $500,000 for the positions.
Currently there’s only one athletic trainer per 3A and 4A high schools, so many students are not supervised properly during athletic practices and games. Janice Morreale, Board of Education member, wants to change that situation.
“For the safety of our students, we need more than one trainer out there,” Morreale said.
Six high schools have one athletic trainer and a stipend for an assistant trainer. The assistant at most schools is a teacher who gets paid a stipend for assisting with athletics.
That leaves one person to monitor students, stretch out athletes, treat injuries and schedule doctor visits for hundreds of students. The state also changed open season rules so student-athletes can practice with a team earlier and more frequently.
“In Spring, you’ve got lacrosse, tennis, baseball, track and so many things going on in one night,” Morreale said. “For one person, it’s extremely difficult.”
Morreale’s motion to add one more athletic trainer position to six of the district’s largest schools passed the human resource committee and moves to the full board of education for approval. She wants the new staff in place by next school year.
THESE TRAINERS WORK. THEY HAVE TO PREPARE STUDENTS FOR PRACTICE, HELP WITH INJURIES, PERFORM PHYSICAL THERAPY.
Daryl Brown, chief support services officer
Pam Timms, board member, said the safety of student athletes is critical.
“Our No. 1 priority is our children,” said board member Pam Timms. “Sometimes there are hundreds of children on the field and they need more supervision than we’ve been able to supply.”
Since next year’s budget is “still a moving target,” John Gardner, chief financial officer, said it’s best to plan for the biggest expense. If approved, the district will set aside $493,652 for all six spots, but that’s just if every trainer has a Master’s degree and serves as a full-time trainer, Gardner said.
FOR THE SAFETY OF THE STUDENTS, I DON’T CARE WHERE THE FUNDING COMES FROM. THE SAFETY OF THE STUDENTS IS SO IMPORTANT.
Janice Morreale, board of education member
The motion allows for schools to hire either a second full-time trainer or give a financial supplement to a teacher who would also serve as a second trainer. The principals at each school would decide which option fit his or her needs best, officials said.
If an assistant trainer is promoted to a full trainer, the schools must replace the assistant position with another trainer/teacher. Rick Maxey, superintendent, said the current athletic trainers are a “tightly knit group” and wouldn’t have much trouble finding qualified applicants.
“I’m sure they’d know how to fill the need, given the opportunity,” Maxey said.
The six schools who may get more trainers are: Conway High; Carolina Forest High; Myrtle Beach High; Socastee High; St. James High; and North Myrtle Beach High. The board of education will discuss the motion at their next meeting in April.