In order to keep high school athletes at the top of their game and physically fit, it takes perseverance, hard work and dedication. It also involves support and mentoring from coaches, parents and others.
“Just having that one go-to person has been a big key for us,” said Rick Weber, Flandreau Public Schools superintendent and athletic director.
Weber says having a full-time athletic trainer on site has been a game changer, for coaches and athletes alike.
“It opens up a lot of time for our coaches. They don’t have to worry about taping and that sort of thing before practice. You always have somebody here on staff that can go over those injuries and that sort of thing, helps with the rehab with the kids, making sure they are doing their rehab, rather than just saying they’re doing their rehab,” said Weber.
“Just like for a sports team, you have multiple members of the team and everybody has different roles and from the medical perspective, having the sports medicine team is important is as well,” said Dr. Sam Schimelpfenig, Avera Sports Medicine Medical Director.
Dr. Sam oversees all the athletic trainers, like Katie Krystosek. He is their go-to person for any medical questions.
“They have great training in terms of how to take care of an acute injury. So I get a lot of questions more like concussions — looking at concussion results of the impact test for example. Is it anything to be concerned about? Can we progress this athlete or this athlete has this complaint or that complaint or sometimes an unusual complaint and really like where should they go next? Does this sound like a big deal to you? Do we need to pull them right away?” said Dr. Sam.
“Katie does a great job of communicating, not only with the parents and the kids and that sort of thing, but also the doctors,” said Weber.
Communication is key between the athletic trainers and Dr. Sam. He’s just a phone call away if a more serious injury arises at practice or a game.
“It’s easier for the family as well. So the family already knows. So the athletic trainer has told them, ‘so this is our team physician. So this is who you’re going to see.’ The leg work is already done so that they don’t need to call for that appointment or anything. It’s already set up for them. They know who they’re going to see and kind of what my role is with the next step of the evaluation,” said Dr. Sam.
“It’s a great piece of mind to have somebody with that background here and can take over a situation if something arises that is probably over the coaches’ level or the athletic director’s level,” said Weber.
Everyone has the same game plan – to keep the athletes healthy and on the field.
You can learn helpful tips in sport specific and injury prevention breakout sessions Friday and Saturday at the KSFY Sports Exp. Dr. Sam will be one of the featured speakers on Saturday morning.