Article reposted from Gaylord Herald Times
Author: Arielle Breen
In sports, injuries are going to happen. And when a Gaylord High School student athlete is injured, they often turn to a group of their peers for help.
For 14 years, students have participated in the volunteer athletic student training program at GHS.
“My first year, one of the players has a severe concussion,” Madison Macquarrie, a GHS senior, said. “I remember he walked off the field, and he was just looking funny and — I (asked) ‘what did you have to eat today?’ and he (said) ‘1974’ or some date.”
GHS senior Grace Bishop said she values the relationships she has made in the program.
“I like that all of us (student trainers) can all work together, and I like the bonding time and having fun with the girls (and I) can learn new ways to tape or learning how the body works,” Bishop said. “(And during games), you have to be paying attention.”
Student trainers pay close attention to the game not just for fun, but also to better understand how to help an injured player.
Athletic student trainers spot concussed players, tend to players in need of hydration, tape fingers, wrists and ankles, set up the field for practice, film games and help junior varsity and varsity players in general.
This year, student trainers created concussion sheets for the football teams where players took a test and the results were used as a baseline sheet for the individual player.
Then, if trainers suspect a concussion, they can go through the test again and use the player’s sheet for comparison.
Bishop said the student trainers become closer with players and other trainers through the program. This is also helpful since sometimes players are more comfortable telling a peer about pain or an injury as opposed to a coach or adult.
In the beginning
Dr. Ted Arkfeld with Arkfeld Advanced Chiropractic, 854 N. Center Ave., started working with the football team as a volunteer athletic trainer about 14 years ago after moving from Arizona.
He said he wanted to give back in the community and make a difference.
“I have received so much more than I have given by being a part of so many exceptional young men and women’s lives,” Arkfeld said in an email. “The memories and relationships with the administrators, coaches, parents and the kids have been extremely rewarding.”
The program has grown from having two student trainers during Arkfeld’s first year to four to eight now.
“The girls work incredibly hard,” Arkfeld said. “They are absolutely crucial. I could never have done this without them. And the coaches will tell you they could never have done it without them.”
Arkfeld also has worked with Dr. Derek Olson of Alpine Family Medicine, 652 N. Otsego Ave., for about 12 years.
Each year, students hear about the program through word-of-mouth and request to join, Arkfeld said.
He remembered a student, Gabriel Blaker, who contacted him on the last day of eighth grade asking to join for her freshman year.
“(When) all (the) kids are out, usually down at the pavilion, and they’re doing everything but thinking about the next fall — she calls me and she said, ‘Dr. Arkfeld, I want to be a student trainer in the fall. Are there still slots available?’”
He said Blaker was with the program for four years.The program that inspires career goals
Some student trainers, like sophomore Vickey Vandenboom, said they had previously planned on one career but then decided to pursue something in the medical field after joining the program.
“I originally wanted to do marketing, but then I started this and I actually want to (go into) nursing or (be) an athletic trainer,” Vandenboom said.
Brooke Wolford, a home-school student, learned of the program from her father, a GHS football coach, and is now in her fourth year with the program. She is planning to study athletic training or crime scene investigation at Liberty (Virginia) University.
Bishop is also thinking of a career in the medical field and said she might study oncology.
Arkfeld said it’s tough to say goodbye each year to student trainers who graduate after the group has bonded.
There are three trainers who are scheduled to graduate this year, and the group will be looking for new trainers to fill their place.
Student trainers have typically been young women, but Arkfeld said the position is open to any high school student.
“We’ve wanted guys, but it has typically been females who have always done it,” Arkfeld said. “I would love to have some guys do (the program).”
He is tentatively planning a meeting near the holidays to bring all the trainers, past and present, together for a first time reunion event and said there have been roughly 50 student trainers involved in the program.