Secondary School

Texas Athletic Trainers Coordinate With First Responders

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Secondary School

Texas Athletic Trainers Coordinate With First Responders

Contrary to popular perceptions, athletic trainers do a lot more than tape ankles. They have the enormous responsibility of caring for the physical well-being of hundreds of McKinney ISD student athletes participating in a broad range of competitive sports.

From early morning practices to weeknight games to weekend competitions, athletic trainers are on the job, and they’re usually first on the the scene when a competitor gets banged up. Most of the time, those incidents are minor, but serious injuries do sometimes occur, and our athletic trainers are prepared to respond when they do.


McKinney ISD athletic trainers and members of the McKinney Fire Department and Baylor Scott & White – McKinney Emergency Department meet to discuss roles and responsibilites in the event of a serious injury during an athletic event.

MISD athletic trainers are highly trained licensed health care providers, most of whom hold master’s degrees. Their licensing requirements include a minimum of 1,800 hours of clinical training with professors, established athletic trainers and various sports teams from the high school level to the pros.

But, they don’t operate in a bubble; providing the best care for our athletes requires the coordinated efforts of a team of medical responders.

To that end, the trainers from each of McKinney ISD’s three high schools met earlier this month with representatives from the McKinney Fire Department and the Emergency Department at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – McKinney to revisit response procedures and responsibilities in the event of a serious medical issue involving an athlete, such as a cervical spine (c-spine) injury.

“We’re meeting to review our emergency action plans and to establish the best possible communication and preparedness in the event that we have an emergency situation at a high school sporting event,” said McKinney High School Athletic Trainer Jake Mannis. “We think we already do a good job, but we just want to establish better communication and get everybody involved on all levels to help us better prepare for those situations if they do arise.”

Discussion at the meeting ranged from walk-throughs at campuses to determine ideal emergency access points to face mask removal techniques to the issues involved with moving an injured player from the field to medical transportation.

While their role as a first responder is crucial, the majority of their time, Mannis said, is spent with a less dramatic focus. “Our main focus at the high school level really comes down to the fact that we’re liaisons between the coaches and the parents and the athletes and the doctors and whatever specialty care that they need,” he says. “We deal with dentists, optometrists and orthopedics mainly.”

The big topic on everyone’s mind these days is concussions. “Concussions are huge in the news right now,” said Mannis. “We were actually doing a lot of the current requirements in MISD before it was mandated by law. I’ve been here for 6 years. The state law didn’t come into effect until 2 years ago, but I’ve been doing it since I’ve been here—holding those kids out, getting them to see the doctor, that kind of thing. It’s just become more prominent in the news now, so the public is more aware of it. We actually have a symposium here in a couple of weeks, and I’m heading up part of it. That’s a main focus—c-spine injuries, concussions, that kind of injury. We’re always talking about those issues trying to figure out how we can make it better.”

Any time kids get involved in activities that are more physically engaging than, say, a game of checkers, accidents and injuries of varying degrees tend to occur. But, it’s reassuring to know that, behind the scenes, a caring and qualified team of medical professionals is watching and waiting to spring into action.

And, hopefully the problem won’t require much more than time—and maybe some athletic tape—to get them back on the field.

For additional information on McKinney ISD, contact Shane Mauldin, MISD Communications Coordinator, at 469-302-4007 or smauldin@mckinneyisd.net.

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