Article reposted from Go Skagit
Author: VINCE RICHARDSON
Melanie Dalpias’ office may be small; however, the services she provides for Sedro-Woolley High School are big.
Dalpias, employed by Northwest Physical Therapy, recently contracted with the Sedro-Woolley School District to provide not only athletic training services for its student-athletes, but also to instruct a class as part of the high school’s Career/Technical Education (CTE) course of study.
Dalpias’ office — or rather her training room — consists of several taping tables, a small ice machine and plenty of cabinets and counter space.
Granted, it’s cozy, but the space provides a much-in-demand service, one that Sedro-Woolley athletic director Jerry Gardner had wanted to offer for some time.
Gardner, along with high school CTE Director Wes Allen and Megan Douglas, president of Northwest Physical Therapy, combined their efforts to provide what each saw as a mutually beneficial service: a certified full-time athletic trainer.
Mount Vernon is the only other high school in the valley with a full-time trainer.
“We had a lot of informational conversations,” Gardner said. “We talked with Megan along with Peter Janicki (who also works at Northwest Physical Therapy) in regards to exactly what a program like this would look like; how things would work between the Sedro-Woolley School District and Northwest Physical Therapy. But this partnership has been ideal.”
“We needed to support it all with education-based classes,” Allen said. “Plus, those students needed after-school clinical time. That is part of the requirement. Students have to complete work outside of school.
“We built a great partnership with the superintendent, the school board and with an outside business that wanted to be involved with this.”
Douglas said the clinic had been looking for just this sort of partnership.
“It’s fun for us to grow with Sedro-Woolley, and to be a part of this program,” she said. “Above all else, it’s great to be able to offer this service to the kids.”
Douglas said the clinic had worked with the school in the past, in regards to senior projects and necessary volunteer hours. Once the specifics were in place, the wheels of progress began to turn, and it didn’t take long for momentum to build.
“It came together fast,” Gardner said. “We posted a job opening for the position in mid- to late July and added the class to the schedule.”
In its rookie season, the course proved to be popular.
“We scheduled the Level I Sports Medicine class as a science elective,” Allen said, “and we had 186 kids signed up before we even had an instructor. We got that down to 65-70 kids and made it work.”
Gardner said from the beginning there was a lot of interest, which has continued to grow.
“The students were definitely excited about it,” he added. “And it has been well received by our coaches. Our coaches are really happy with the program.”
The position, much like the class, proved popular. Dalpias, who holds a number of degrees in the field including a Masters, proved to be the ideal candidate.
“We had a lot of interest,” Douglas said. “No one had the experience or the educational background that Melanie did … she was the perfect fit at both Northwest Physical Therapy as well as the high school.
“Melanie is employed full-time with us and we contract the hours out to the school. We are still experimenting with the procedures and time, it varies. But we are getting a good snapshot of how it’s going to work. This fall, it has been crazy.”
Allen said that Dalpias handled what was a rather quick learning curve.
“This class was obviously not for the college-level,” he said. “But it is for high school kids who have an interest in athletic training and want to get a start. Melanie has done a great job endeavoring to do just that. It’s a good fit for her and for our students’ skill set. It is still a work in progress.”
Dalpias has been busy, on the sidelines as well as inside both the training and class rooms.
“I’ve worked on making some changes to the concussion protocol, along with other injury-related issues,” she said. “It has been busy.”