High school athletes need more protection than any other age level, according to professionals. Yet most high schools in Rhode Island do not have trainers. Some are pushing for a law that would put trainers at every high school game.
Trainers said it’s about safety for student athletes. But another selling point: they say it can save money.
Whether it’s girls playing hockey or boys playing hoops, injuries will happen. The scenario is predictable for college trainer Andy Llaguno.
“They’re going to call an ambulance. They’re going to the ER. They’re going to see a primary care doctor. They’re going to see an orthopedic doctor. They’re going to go to rehabilitation,” Llaguno said. “If you have an athletic trainer, you can limit all those appointments to maybe just one, if not none.”
He said he believes having a trainer at every school for covering games would be an economical decision.
After school, the nurses go home and there are no health care professionals available.
Trainers also are valuable to schools in setting up prevention programs, or as Val Webber has found in nine years at St. Andrew’s School in Barrington, besides training programs, she also handles concussions.
“Not only do I help manage the concussion protocol, but I’ve established a return to learn protocol at the school, which I help manage with the school nurse as well as the director of academics,” Webber said.
She can help the doctor follow up on treatment.
“I can go ahead and email right away and tell them what I’m seeing on a day-to-day. They’re not going to see them on a daily basis, and I talk with the nurse and the teachers if there are any other symptoms the kids are reporting throughout the school day,” she said.