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Florida Schools Commit to Sport Safety with Addition of Athletic Trainers

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Article reposted from Tampabay.com
Author: Jeffrey S. Solochek

With concerns mounting that student athletes won’t get proper treatment if injured, Pasco County School District leaders have decided to pay for athletic trainers at all high school sports events during the 2017-18 school year.

The move could add about $125,000 to the district’s anticipated funding shortfall, which was listed at $627,855 on June 20, the most recent estimate available. But superintendent Kurt Browning said Tuesday that the expense is worth it.

“We are going to fund athletic trainers,” he said. “I’m going to find (the money), and we’re going to make it work. I think it’s important.”

Browning has assigned district athletic director Matt Wicks to work with a different provider to bring the trainers to the schools. The district had worked with Florida Hospital, which paid for the service until canceling its contract at the end of the 2016-17 school year.

Parents got word of the loss and recently began a campaign to reinstate the trainer program. Browning initially told each person who wrote that he was looking for a way to pay for the service, but that the tight budget would make it tough.

He decided late Monday to prioritize the item and fit it into the budget, even if it means cutting in other places. He stressed that the money would not come out of instructional expenses.

“If I had to choose between teachers and athletic trainers, I’m going to choose teachers every day,” Browning said.

REZONING BATTLE: Lawyers for a group of west Pasco parents who are fighting the school district’s attendance zone revisions won the right June 20 to continue their latest case in county court.

Judge Kimberly Sharpe Byrd ruled against a school district motion to dismiss the complaint, which alleges some members of the superintendent’s rezoning advisory committee privately discussed boundary-related matters that should have remained public.

District officials told the committee when it first convened that it must follow Florida’s open meetings laws.

The parents argued that Facebook conversations among committee members indicated they had discussed some of the issues among themselves, outside the sunshine. They questioned whether a “full, open and independent” review took place.

The district contended that nothing inappropriate occurred.

“Even if the stuff they alleged in their complaint is true, it does not constitute a Sunshine violation,” School Board attorney Dennis Alfonso said.

But Byrd gave the plaintiffs the room to make their case in court. Depositions are scheduled, with a hearing set for July 21.

The plaintiffs also have appealed a Division of Administrative Hearings ruling against their complaint that the School Board did not follow proper rule-making procedures when setting the new attendance zones. That case is pending in the 2nd District Court of Appeal.

Jim Stanley, one of the complaining parents, said in an email that he would like to see the district improve its processes before it faces another boundary revision.

“No system or process can be perfect, but when the process the District used failed to achieve any of their stated objectives, then undoubtedly we could have done better,” Stanley wrote. “Furthermore, we warned the District that unless they came up with a better plan, their errors were likely to be repeated, so this was as much about the future as about boundaries for 2017/18.”

CONTRACT TALKS: Hoping for a quicker resolution to negotiations than in 2016-17, representatives for the Pasco County School District and employees have returned to collective bargaining, with the aftermath of the legislative session in Tallahassee in full view.

Issues the United School Employees of Pasco had pursued before, such as job protections for well-evaluated teachers on annual contract, no longer will come into play as the Legislature outlawed the practice in HB 7069. Hope for another round of pay raises also faded with a state budget that district officials said accounts for growth but not inflation.

“We understand the fallout from 7069 is going to hamper some of the financial obligations of the district in regard to how they divvy money our to schools and support programs,” USEP president Don Peace said. “We’re going to have to take a look as to what that means to the bottom line.”

Peace said the union wants to preserve jobs and programs, and protect student learning.

“In a year that’s not going to reap enormous financial benefits, we want to make sure we take care of our people in a way that is promoting the best opportunities for them to benefit,” he said.

On the school-related personnel side, that means working out some of the details on job transfers that the sides aimed to settle through impasse talks. For teachers, the attention will likely focus on evaluations.

As part of HB 7069, the Legislature ended the mandate that school districts include a state-approved, value-added model for student data in teacher evaluations. It did not eliminate the requirement that student performance be included in the mix, though.

The administration already has begun conversations on its use of district-created final exams for evaluations. But the entire model is up for review.

At their first sessions, the sides brought forth a handful of measures for consideration. Most were simple renewals of long-standing agreements, updated to reflect changing costs or dates. The issues that might prove more hotly contested will wait.

“Our goal is to get it done before May 2018,” Peace said, making a pointed reference to the late conclusion of this year’s contract, for which employees are still awaiting back pay. “The sooner we get a contract done, the better. But we don’t want to rush it.”

Contact Jeffrey S. Solochek at (813) 909-4614 or jsolochek@tampabay.com. Follow @jeffsolochek.

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Texas High School Athletic Trainer Retiring

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Article reposted from Mesquite News
Author: Mesquite News

Jana Foster, athletic trainer at Poteet High School retires after 14 years with the school. She has worked all over Texas, having been in the field since 1983, when there were few women in the field of athletic training

How did you get started?

I was interested in physical therapy and athletic training. I went to TCU (Texas Christian University) in Fort Worth; they have a great athletic program so I got into that.

To be an athletic trainer you have to work in a college athletic training room and take certain classes, and pass a state test, there’s also a national certification, I did both.

What drew you to this field?

Just the love of athletics, sports and medicine; it’s a great combination. I was active growing up, played all the sports. We get the best seats in the house – right there on the sidelines.

Do you play any sports now?

No, I walk and lift weights just to stay fit.

From your experience, what has been the biggest change since you started as a trainer?

When I first started as a student athletic trainer I was only the second female student athletic trainer at TCU, I ended up being the first one to graduate. Back in the 80s, women were just breaking into the field, and now on the national level, I believe 60 percent are women – the ones who get certified. So, it’s changed quite a bit from just a handful.

I used to go to the Southwest Athletic Trainers Association meeting each year and there would be 10-12 females and I knew all of them; now, there’s tons of females in it.

The other changes are having to worry about the heat, having to worry about lightning. Years ago we had no policies about heat and lightning, you just had to use common sense.

The concussion, in the last five years, probably, that’s just been an explosion. When I first started when a kid got a concussion he was out for seven days, he missed one game and we threw him back out there at practice. Now we know that that’s not the best thing for the child, and we have protocols and states laws.

When you first started out with so few women in the field at the time, were you met with any challenges? 

The first time I interviewed, it was at a school south of Fort Worth, the interview went well the head coach told me that it had gone well and that I was his guy and I didn’t hear from him. I finally called and the words that came out of that man’s mouth was that the male got the job, that’s what it came down to. I could’ve filed a lawsuit but I had to get a job and at that time there weren’t a whole lot of jobs in the state, and I ended up in El Paso and loved it. I had a great head coach and great kids.

You train girls and boys?

Yes, and through the years, like when I first started the coaches that I worked with hadn’t grown up with female athletic trainers, so a few of them were kind of reluctant; you could even see it on their face. But, as soon as they saw that I was going to work hard and treat the kids right and take care of the kids then it really wasn’t a problem.

Nowadays, most of the coaches had female athletic trainers as they grew up or as they played college athletics, and so I don’t think it’s an issue at all.

Even though you’re retiring, what do you hope to see in the athletic field in the future?

There’s exciting research going on with concussion. Maybe they will be an easier to diagnose a concussion on the sidelines, but it would be great if there was some definite way to say, ‘Yes, that’s a concussion,’ instead of trying to tease out the difference between is it a concussion? Are they dehydrated? Are they coming down with a cold? All different things that it could be.

So I think in the next five to 10 years diagnosing a concussion will be easier, and whether or not a child is ready to go back to competition.

Throughout your career, what would you say you’ve learned about people?

All kids are alike. They want to be involved in things, and they want to know that people around them care. As an athletic trainer, sometimes you might be the only adult that takes time to listen to that kid. Nowadays some people’s home life are bad, or it might just be that something is going on in that family where they’re not getting a whole lot of attention right then, and if you can be that one adult that can have a smile on your face and say, ‘Hi, how’s your day been?’ or ‘Have a good day,’ and also listening to the kid.

What will you miss about working at Poteet High School?

Just the relationship with the kids and the coaches. Here at Poteet I’ve been fortunate, it’s always been a great coaching staff and the kids are fantastic. Just missing the day-to-day interactions and relationships with them. It’s great fun to watch a kid come in as a freshman and be kind of squirrely/silly, and then watch them mature as people and as athletes and see how much they can grow in four years.

What are you looking forward to about retirement?

Rest. As an athletic trainer we put in 60-70 hours a week, 10 months a year. I’m hoping to slow down a little bit and not work as much. I am going to do a little bit of work in Mesquite, covering junior high games, and work for an orthopedic clinic as well.

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Montana athletic trainer goes extra mile to build bonds

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Article reposted from Great Falls Tribune
Author: Sarah Dettmer

Judi Rowe is dedicated to her students on and off the field.

The Anaconda native began her career as a teacher and assistant athletic trainer at Butte High School. But after four years, Rowe made the move to Great Falls and has been with GFH for nearly 17 years.

Now, she teaches health enhancement, intro to health occupations and intro to athletic training. On top of her involvement in the medical prep department, Rowe is also the athletic trainer a GFH.

Rowe’s job is special. On top of working with students in the classroom, she gets to break the barriers that limit her interactions when she heads to the field to work with student-athletes. This opportunity affords her the ability to make deeper connections and build a stronger base with her students.

“On the athletic training side, I get to spend a lot of time with the kids,” Rowe said. “Sometimes it’s one-on-one, so they tell me lots of information about things going on in their lives that they probably don’t share with a lot of other teaching staff here because it’s in a more comfortable environment. It’s relaxed.”

Rowe uses her love of sports to forge connections with her students, even if they’re aren’t her student-athletes. She spends her evenings and summers attending baseball games, music performances and theater productions to support all of her students.

“I think the biggest thing is just showing kids you care what happens to them and that you’re interested in activities other than what’s happening in your classroom,” Rowe said. “Many of them do have parents who care, but some of them don’t have that support at home. Even the kids that do have great home support, I think they engage better in your classroom when they know you care what’s happening to them or what kind of interests they have.”

All of these connections are genuine. Rowe devotes her free time to her students to let them know she cares and to foster better connections in her classroom, but she also does it because she really does care.

“The most difficult part of the job is wanting the kids to succeed so bad and some, they just can’t,” Rowe said. “Sometimes they just don’t put in the same effort you think they should. For me that’s the hardest part — seeing that potential that’s just not reached.”

But there is great support available from her fellow teachers and administration, Rowe continued.

The collective team at GFH is trained to recognize students in need and consistently check in with them. She said she finds peace in knowing that all of the teachers are trying to make connections with their students. If someone in Rowe’s class isn’t opening up to her, Rowe said chances are they’ve found that trust and support in another teacher.

As Rowe prepares for the new year, she said she would like to work on reaching more students in her class. Rather than building relationships with the most forthcoming students, she said she would like to improve on building those connections with her quieter students and incoming freshmen.

“It’s great to see the change from the beginning of the year to the end of the year,” Rowe said. “By Christmastime, we’re lucky to get through the real task we need to do that day because they’re willing to open up and share things that happened to them and how it relates to what we’re talking about in class. When they feel comfortable, class is more comfortable, and we have better discussions.”

#AT4ALLSecondary School

Oklahoma School District Awarded NFL Grant

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Article reposted from The Purcell Register
Author: The Purcell Register

Purcell is among 150 school districts across four states selected to receive an athletic trainer grant through the NFL Foundation.

Superintendent Jason Midkiff announced the 3-year award at Monday’s school board meeting.

The district asked for $48,100 and will receive $36,000.

The award will pay $20,000 the first year, $11,000 in year two and $5,000 in the final year.

Midkiff and Tim Arnold worked together on the grant application.

The grant will enable Purcell Schools to “expand the care we give our student athletes and also help and students who might be interested in going into the (athletic trainer) field,” the superintendent explained.

The pilot program targeted just four states – Oklahoma, Arizona, Illinois and Oregon.

The grant program is administered by the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut, which will research the program’s impact and impact of athletic trainers on the health outcomes of student athletes.

The institute is named for a  former Minnesota Viking professional football player who died from exertional heatstroke in 2001.

“The massive responsibility of keeping many hundreds of athletes safe at a particular high school should never be the responsibility of a sport coach or the athletic director, they have no training to properly handle this task,” said Douglas Casa, chief executive officer of KSI . “We  are very proud to partner with this grant program that has a primary goal of increasing the number of schools serviced by an athletic trainer and to enhance the amount of medical care for those that already have some.”

In its application, Purcell Public Schools reported high school enrollment of 320.

Of that number, 150 students – or 46.9 percent – participate in sports.

There are 10 sports offered at the high school.

Co-sponsors with the NFL Foundation and KSI are Gatorade, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society.

Expenditures from the initial $20,000 will include an ice machine, $5,000; automated external defibrillators, $3,500; ellipticals, $2,000; upper extremity bike and treadmills, $1,500 each; electrical stimulation, treatment tables (football), and hydro collator, $1,000 each; equipment/supply bags, $750; baps board, $650; locking cabinets (football), $600; and foam rollers, TheraBands and airex pad, $500 each.

In the second year, the grant allocation is ice machine (baseball, softball, track complex), $5,000; AED machines, $3,500; water bottles/stands/jugs, $1,000; crutches/splints/braces, $900; and locking cabinets (basketball), $600.

The totals for year three are AED (baseball/softball complex), $2,900; training tables (basketball/baseball-softball complex), $1,500; and locking cabinets (baseball-softball complex), $600.

According to KSI, an athletic trainer is a licensed medical professional who has specific expertise in preventing, recognizing, treating and rehabilitating athletic injuries.

However, nearly two-thirds of high schools across the country lack a full-time athletic trainer and almost 30 percent of high schools do not have any athletic trainer at all.

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Longtime South Carolina athletic trainer passes torch

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Article reposted from The Berkeley Independent
Author: Rob Gantt

With a medical glove slipped onto his right hand and the other one securely planted on the gym floor, Ernie Drews supported himself on all fours and screamed in the direction of the wrestling mat, not even remotely concerned about messing up his light khaki pants.

Begging and pleading with a referee 20 feet away to call a pin for Goose Creek High School in a rivalry match with Stratford High School a few years ago, Drews had been swept up in the excitement. The grooves on his face evidence he’s into the clash almost as much as anybody else in the building.

That was Ernie Drews being Ernie Drews, a head athletic trainer first for the Gators but also a staunch, unwavering supporter of the school’s athletic teams and its students. Also at various points, he helped coach girls basketball, softball, baseball and boys soccer at GCHS.

“When I’m in, I’m all in,” said the 61-year-old Drews, who has stepped down as the Berkeley County school’s head athletic trainer. “I don’t care if it is tiddlywinks or backgammon, I’m going to put all I have into it. I’m very loyal.”

And that included sitting through some Goose Creek teams losing every game. Drews was there wearing black and gold no matter what. On the other end of the spectrum, he looks back fondly on the run the Chuck Reedy-led football team made to the state championship in 2011.

But he also remembers the squad that won one game many years earlier.

“You get into this business for the kids,” he said, “because you want to make a difference. You have to be in the mindset that you’re a fan and support them through thick and thin. Teaching comes from the heart.”

“I’m going to miss working with the kids and being around athletics,” he added. “It kind of keeps you young.”

The support of the school and student-athletes helped push him through a bout with throat cancer in 2013-14. At one point, he nearly died from pulmonary embolisms in each lung.

Drews, who came to Goose Creek High School in 1999, also did 12 years at Conway High School and has one more year left in education. He’ll continue to teach health science classes in 2017-18 before winding down a career that goes back 30-plus years.

The head athletic trainer post now goes to Kelly Stratoti, 30, Drews’s assistant. Stratoti carried the program when he had cancer, though Drews often popped in.

“I knew everything was in great hands with Kelly in charge,” Drews said. “Knowing her and my students were committed to maintaining the standard of care for our athletes made it easier for me to recover because there was no stress.”

Drews sings Stratoti’s praises for her performance in the classroom and training room. In the aforementioned snapshot from five years ago, Stratoti is seated to Drews’ left and wearing medical gloves on each hand. Like Drews, she’s a hybrid worker bee and Gators fan. You can see the excitement on her face as she prepares to gain her balance and burst out of the chair, yearning for a Goose Creek pin.

“She enjoys teaching and she’s doggone good at it,” he said. “Kelly is a very competent and talented athletic trainer. I turned all the rehab over to her. She’s into crossfit and she brings that into the training room. We follow protocols for each specific injury but she’s gotten kids back stronger and quicker. Kelly is a crackerjack when it comes to rehab. Goose Creek is getting a great one. My methods are tried and true but hers are a little more on the cutting edge.”

Drews knows he’ll have extra time in the evenings next school year but is also keenly aware somebody else in his life probably has those minutes and hours carved out for herself. Drews married longtime girlfriend Vicky Ballard in September 2016.

“I’m sure she’s got a honey-do list I’m going to need to get to,” he joked. “I won’t just be sitting around watching soap operas.”

As the 11th hour winds down on his athletic training career at GCHS, Drews is going out on top. He was recognized with national and state awards this spring.

As a winner of the National Athletic Trainers Association service award, Drews will be honored at an awards ceremony during the NATA Symposium in Houston later this month.

“It means a lot because you have to be nominated by one of your peers,” he said. “There are a little over 30,000 athletic trainers and only about 28 won service awards this year. I’m very humbled and honored to receive it.”

Drews also was chosen as the 2017 Athletic Trainer of the Year by The South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association for the second time. He also received the award in 2004. He will be recognized at the SCACA convention in Charleston on July 23-26.

“Being an athletic trainer is more than passing out water bottles and band aids,” Drews said. “There’s a lot more to it.”

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Athletic Trainers Play Critical Role at Wisconsin State High School Track Meet

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Article reposted from WXOW.com
Author: Tianna Vanderhei

 

 

Clear skies and temperatures in the eighties made for a nice, but hot day for the annual state track meet Friday.

Haley Yager, a May 2016 graduate from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, has worked the state meet many times.

“You have to communicate where you are on the field and then whoever is the closet usually goes out. Then you have to let the athletic training center know that you’ve got people coming in. If there’s an emergency situation you gotta be able to notify everyone else,” stressed Yager.

The meet is staffed with about 15 to 20 certified athletic trainers, from primarily here in La Crosse, but also around the state.

In addition, 15 athletic training students from UW-La Crosse are ready for anything from a muscle strain to heat exhaustion for both athletes and spectators.

Naoko Aminaka, Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Certified Athletic Trainer said their role is to keep everyone safe.

“It’s definitely of utmost importance that people can identify us and we stay visible so that any small things from needing water to actually needing emergency services,” said Aminaka.

“We’re definitely on the lookout for more heat illness, making sure we’ve got water out for everyone to stay hydrated. Educating the athletes is a big thing as well. Making sure that they’re eating properly before the meet, watching for them to collapse, keeping them cool and in the shade as much as you can, just being aware of your surroundings,” added Yager.

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Texas High School student inks to take athletic training abilities to Tyler Junior College

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Article reposted from Bullard Banner News
Author: Micah McCartney

A member of the Bullard High School athletic training department will soon take his talents to the next level, as family and friends gather to witness Wesley Carter sign with the Tyler Junior College athletic training department Tuesday, April 25, inside BHS’s Audry B. Owens Auditorium.

“I am pretty happy about signing with the TJC sports medicine department,” said Carter. “The scholarship I received, which was a full ride minus books and housing really helped me make my decision. It was one of the better things that has happened to me this year.”

Jeff’ Doc” Shrode, the head athletic trainer at BHS, spoke well of Carter at the signing event, saying Carter has provided the program with leadership and hard work.

“Not only is it a great day for him, but it’s a great day for me to be able to see him get to grow in our program and continue his education through the Apache sports medicine program. Wes came into our program and has worked really hard over the years; he’s a personality, and it was really fun to work with Wes. He kept me on my toes, kept me going, and he was a senior leader for our program.”

As a student trainer under Shrode’s supervision, Carter worked alongside his fellow athletic trainers as a trainer for the Bullard Panther varsity football and varsity basketball programs.

“He’s covered just about every sport we offer here at Bullard over the last four years,” said Shrode. “We’re really going to miss him in the program a lot, just because of the hard work ethic and leadership he has.”

During the spring months, Carter laid aside the designation of athletic trainer and picked up a glove and a bat, participating as a member of the Panther varsity baseball team.

Carter also had high praises for Shrode, saying Shrode is responsible for his athletic training knowledge.

“Doc has taught me all that I know,” said Carter. “I am thankful to have had this experience with the BHS athletic department. It was fun working with Doc and the other trainers throughout the years.”

According to Carter, he would like to pursue a career in sports medicine after graduating from college.

Carter is the son of James and Jodi Carter.

 

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Texas AT takes husband’s place as Head Athletic Trainer

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Article reposted from The Independent Liberty Hill
Author: KEITH SPARKS

In the wake of long-time Liberty Hill athletic trainer Charles “Doc” Harrington’s retirement, another Harrington has taken over.

Melissa Harrington, wife of Doc Harrington, will step into her new role as Head Athletic Trainer in July, once her husband’s contract has officially been completed.

In the meantime, Melissa will continue to work with the baseball and softball programs throughout their respective playoff runs while Doc makes sure his duties have been fulfilled and his successor is fully prepared to take over.

“Doc is trying to coach me up, because there is a lot of stuff that I’m having to learn how to do,” she said. “Between transportation and the correct answers for the coaches when they say ‘Hey, we need to do this.’ I’m just learning what they’ve done and what the right answers are to make sure the coaches and the kids get the same care and the same abilities to take care of kids. I’m really just trying to learn the Liberty Hill way, which is a pretty good way, I’m finding out.”

Harrington’s first athletic training experience took place while she was a student trainer attending Odessa High School. After graduating, she moved on to serve as a student trainer at the University of Texas at El Paso, moved back to Odessa High School as the Head Athletic Trainer, then to McNeil High School in Round Rock as an Assistant Athletic Trainer, then to Cedar Ridge as their first Head Athletic Trainer before coming to Liberty Hill as an assistant in 2016.

As an assistant this year, Harrington’s responsibilities were tied more heavily to girls’ sports and indoor sports. As she transitions to Head Athletic Trainer this summer, her focus will shift to football.

Although she’ll bring a different perspective to her new position, Harrington is certain that not much will change after the transition. The focus, she said, will always simply be about “taking care of kids.”

“Really nothing is going to change, because we’re just going to take care of kids,” she said. “That’s the main focus. There will be some administrative stuff that I will do and things like that, but we’re just going to take care of kids. That’s the main focus.”

Harrington said timing was the biggest factor in her move from Cedar Ridge to Liberty Hill. As the Liberty Hill coaching staff was set to undergo some changes of its own, an opportunity opened up for her to join newly appointed Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Jeff Walker in a new era for Panther athletics.

“I think we can grow together,” she said regarding the timing of both her and Walker’s arrivals. “It’s not just me learning somebody’s way. I mean, yes, I’m going to learn his way and he’s going to learn my way, but we can grow together.”

Harrington has known Walker for 10-plus years, as she spent time with some of the Liberty Hill coaching staff during her husband’s 15-year tenure with the Panthers. That, she said, has contributed to her excitement and high expectations moving forward.

“I’m excited,” she said. “I’ve known Coach Walker since he was here the first time. I’m excited about continuing on the foundation that Coach (Jerry) Vance and Doc have built, and I’m just excited that Coach Walker and I get to do this. It’s a weird coincidence, because Coach Walker learned under Coach Vance and I’ve learned with Doc. It’s kind of cool that the people that we’ve learned from, now we get to take over and hopefully go out and do the community proud.”

One of the biggest differences Harrington has noticed between Liberty Hill and her previous schools is the top-of-the-line resources provided to her by Liberty Hill ISD.

“I feel like here that I have the resources to take care of our kids,” she said. “Some people don’t understand, when you don’t have resources, some of the things you’re not able to do for kids.”

Another big difference, she said, is her time. Unlike her previous schedules, she now has time to dedicate to parents and coaches, in addition to the kids she’s taken care of for so long.

“They’ve made our schedule to where we have time to take care of kids, but I also have time to call parents,” Harrington said. “We had athletics every single period of the day (at McNeil and Cedar Ridge), so I didn’t have time to call a parent when I needed to, because I had another kid with something else that was more emergent. They’ve made our schedule to where we can take care of kids, we can take care of parents, and we can take care of coaches, and I think it’s a vital part to take care of all three.”

Between now and the beginning of football season, Harrington and the Liberty Hill ISD human resources team are working on hiring an Assistant Athletic Trainer.

“It’s a blessing that they allowed us to do (the hiring) earlier, so that we can get the cream of the crop, per se, versus waiting until June and July when you may not get your first choice,” she said of the hiring process. “We’re very fortunate that they’ve allowed us to do that pretty early. We’re working with human resources right now to finalize that.”

Whoever is hired into the new position will focus on indoor sports and girls’ athletics, as Melissa did in her short time as an assistant, while she shifts her focus to football and other outdoor sports.

Harrington is arriving at Liberty Hill during what is arguably the peak of the athletics department’s success, as a whole, as the volleyball team and girls’ basketball team made state tournament runs this season, while the softball and baseball teams look poised to make deep playoff runs of their own. The timing, she said, can only be explained by divine intervention.

“All I can say is that the good Lord put me in this place, and I’m excited to be here,” she said. “They’ve built such a wonderful program here that we get to focus on taking care of kids, and that’s such a blessing.”

Sports@LHIndependent.com

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Illinois Hospitals to cut athletic trainer services to schools: Lay off 11 ATs

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Article reposted from The State Journal Register
Author: Dean Olsen

Hundreds of Springfield-area athletes hitting hard on the gridiron and scoring points and winning races in other high school sports may be added to the list of potential victims of the state’s almost two-year budget crisis.

Citing millions of dollars in unpaid bills by the state as a major factor in their decisions, officials at Springfield’s Memorial Medical Center and HSHS St. John’s Hospital say they plan to stop providing athletic trainers to nine area high schools for football and all other sports by the end of this academic year.

A tradition that had lasted up to 30 years looks like it will end, in large part, because of a record backlog of more than $130 million in combined bills owed to the two not-for-profit institutions by the state’s group health insurance program for state workers, retirees and dependents.

“The state budget crisis is causing all of us to make difficult decisions,” Dr. Charles Lucore, chief executive officer of 439-bed St. John’s, told The State Journal-Register. “This was something we couldn’t continue to do.”

Three athletic trainers at the St. John’s AthletiCare sports medicine program and eight athletic trainers and an exercise physiologist at Memorial’s SportsCare program are expected to be laid off in the next two months, officials from the hospitals said.

The schools affected are Southeast, Riverton and Petersburg PORTA, which had been served by St. John’s, and Springfield High, Lanphier, Auburn, Athens, Williamsville and New Berlin, which had been served by Memorial.

“It’s a business decision we reached over a long period of careful consideration,” said Evan Davis, administrator for orthopedic services and neuromedicine at 500-bed Memorial.

Not required

Athletic trainers aren’t required by the Illinois High School Association or state law to be present at games or practices, though evaluations by trainers or other medical professionals are required before an athlete who has suffered a suspected concussion can be sent back into a game.

But local school officials said the presence of trainers for advice and hands-on care has become expected by schools and the public in recent years — especially when sports such as football, soccer, wrestling and basketball are involved and more is known about the long-term risks of concussions.

“Cutting back could be an option, but I don’t think we could go without,” said Matt Brue, superintendent of the PORTA district.

Davis said the no- or low-charge service to the schools “doesn’t cover the cost” for Memorial, even though hospital officials have enjoyed serving the athletes and their families and the hospital received revenue when athletes sought care at Memorial after an injury.

Laying off the eight trainers and an exercise physiologist — who have bachelor’s and master’s degrees and work with athletes to prevent and deal with injuries — will save Memorial about $500,000 per year, Davis said.

Lucore wouldn’t say how much St. John’s could save in the decision.

The fact that Memorial is owed $81.6 million by the state was a factor in the hospital’s decision, Davis said, adding that publicly funded and private insurance plans continue to cut back on what they pay hospitals for health care.

St. John’s, which will continue to provide no-cost trainers for student athletes at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School and Lincoln Land Community College this fall and beyond, is owed $49 million for state employee health care bills that are as much as 1½ years overdue, Lucore said.

He said St. John’s is willing to consider arrangements in which other schools could lease the services of an AthleticCare trainer, avoiding the need to lay off one or more trainers, if contract terms could be worked out.

‘Fiscal destruction’

St. John’s and Memorial officials said they probably wouldn’t reverse their decisions on athletic trainers, even if the Democratically controlled General Assembly and Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, reach a compromise in the next month or two for what would be their first comprehensive state budget in about two years.

That’s because financial pressures on hospitals persist, with changes looming at the federal level, they said.

The American Health Care Act, passed by the Republican-controlled U.S. House, pending in the Senate and supported by President Donald Trump, would likely reduce the number of low-income Illinoisans covered by Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, hospital officials said.

At the same time, they said, the AHCA would keep in place the ACA’s Medicare spending cuts, leaving hospitals in Springfield and elsewhere in the state with billions of dollars in Medicare reductions between now and 2025.

Athletic directors and superintendents, who said they don’t blame the Springfield hospitals for the decisions, are looking into options that probably will cost their schools more money at a time when schools also are owed vast amounts of money by the state.

“It’s total fiscal destruction,” said Darren Root, superintendent of Auburn School District 10. “It always seems to come back on the shoulders of the schools.”

The Auburn district, which is owned $667,000 by the state, has paid Memorial $9,000 per year for essentially full-time services from a SportsCare trainer, Root said.

Athletic trainers typically earn $40,000 to $50,000 per year, Auburn football coach Dave Bates said.

When asked whether the Auburn district can afford to pay more for a service that athletes and their parents have come to expect, Root said it would be difficult to justify.

“I haven’t bought a textbook since 2008,” he said.

Fortunate, spoiled

Rick Sanders, director of school support for Springfield District 186, said, “We’ve been really fortunate and spoiled” by St. John’s and Memorial. “They’ve been great to us, they really have.”

District officials are looking into alternatives and potential costs for services the district previously didn’t pay for.

The goal is to have some athletic trainer services in place, even if trainers aren’t present as much as in the past, by the time practices for football and other sports begin in August, Sanders said.

Springfield Clinic is willing to hire some of the trainers who will be displaced and provide at least a reduced level of service to the affected schools at no charge, according to Mark Kuhn, the clinic’s chief administrative officer.

But if schools want the same, almost full-time level of services they received from St. John’s and Memorial, they will have to pay, Kuhn said.

The for-profit clinic is owed a record $75 million-plus by the state, but also is poised to recoup some expenses when injured athletes turn to the clinic for scans, surgery, doctor visits and other services, he said.

The clinic already provides trainers to 16 area schools, including Rochester, Chatham Glenwood and Pleasant Plains high schools and the University of Illinois Springfield.

“These are typically free or reduced-price services,” said Benjamin McLain, Springfield Clinic’s director of rehabilitation services.

The PORTA district, which is owed $668,000 by the state and operates on a $12 million annual budget, hasn’t decided what it will do to deal with the potential loss of its trainer, Brue said.

Parents have enjoyed the trainer’s assistance and advice as their children have undergone therapy for injuries, he said.

Brue said he wrote a letter to the district’s state representative, Tim Butler, R-Springfield, complaining that PORTA’s potential loss or reduction in athletic trainer services is another ramification of a state budget crisis that should have been resolved by politicians by now.

“I don’t know if they understand it,” Brue said.

Secondary School

North Carolina Athletic trainer accused of sexual activity with student

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Article reposted from Fox 8
Author:  Fox 8

An athletic trainer at Providence Grove High School in Randolph County is accused of sexual activity with a student.

Kelsey Ann Ranson has been charged with one count of sexual activity with a student, the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.

The sheriff’s office received a criminal complaint on Thursday from the administration at Providence Grove.

The complaint alleged that the suspect was engaged in an inappropriate relationship with an enrolled student.

The Randolph County Sheriff’s Office and the Randolph County School System launched an investigation, resulting in the suspect being charged.

Ranson had been employed by Randolph Health and was contracted by the Randolph County School System. She was assigned exclusively to Providence Grove High School as a certified athletic trainer.

Ranson submitted her resignation to Randolph Health during the investigation, according to the sheriff’s office.

She received a $5,000 unsecured bond and is not currently in custody, but is awaiting trial. A court date is planned for Monday.