Secondary School

Role of athletic trainers: Welfare of players is their top priority


Article reposted from
Author: Jennifer Toland

About a month ago, Holy Cross basketball player Marcellis Perkins underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean up his troublesome right knee, and since then he has been a regular visitor to HC’s sports medicine department.

The newly-designed area, which opened in June and is located behind the Hart Center gym, includes a hydrotherapy room, separate sections for taping, treatments and rehabilitation, and it is where Holy Cross’ nine certified athletic trainers, led by head athletic trainer and director of sports medicine Anthony Cerundolo, work tirelessly and passionately with the college’s 27 teams and 750 student-athletes to, first and foremost, try to prevent injuries, but when they do happen, evaluate, triage, manage, treat and rehab the injuries, while also educating student-athletes to help them lead healthier, injury-free lives.

Perkins, a junior, has been spending about 90 minutes a day in the sports medicine department with Wally Tisdale, the men’s basketball team’s athletic trainer, working on flexion, strength and stretching.

“Wally is guiding me through it,” said Perkins, who won’t play this season. “It makes me feel better that our athletic trainers genuinely care. Their main concern is that I’m healthy, that I can get around. Whether I play basketball or not, that doesn’t affect the way they treat us and how they work with us and how much effort they put in to making sure that we’re healthy.”

The role of an athletic trainer, and the importance of that role, may be unknown or unclear to some outside sports.

“I think a lot of people think we’re just the people who squirt water in players’ mouths,” Assumption head athletic trainer Gwen Chiaranda said.

“People hear ‘athletic trainer’ and they don’t really understand the scope or the depth of the position,” said Grafton High athletics director Jim Scanlon, who is a certified athletic trainer. “In my own personal practice I have found there is a general lack of awareness of what an athletic trainer does and how much they are qualified to do.”

“We’re not here just to hand out ice bags and Band-Aids,” Cerundolo added. “We’re here to make sure we’re providing the best possible care we can give student-athletes.”

Indeed, athletic trainers are valued, respected, vital and essential members of sports programs on the college and high school levels.

“Very often,” Chiaranda said, “the first diagnosis of injury comes through us.”

Among Worcester colleges, Holy Cross, Assumption, Worcester State, WPI, Clark and Becker all have partnerships with the UMass Memorial Sports Medicine Group. Holy Cross is also contracted with St. Vincent Hospital. Some area high schools and Worcester Academy also have relationships with UMass Memorial.

Athletic trainers are liaisons between physicians and athletes, and physicians and coaches.

“When a kid gets hurt,” Cerundolo said, “we see everything from the acute stages to X-rays and MRIs, surgery, then rehab. Getting them back to playing in a safe manner, seeing them back playing at a high level, and smiling, that’s the most gratifying part of our job.”

Teamwork, trust and communication among athletic trainers, team physicians, student-athletes, their parents, coaches and teachers, as well as school health offices and administrators, are central to that process.

“As a sports medicine team, a sports medicine family, it’s the role of athletic trainers and team physicians to make the physical and psychosocial welfare of our athletes and our students our highest priority,” said Dr. Brian Busconi, chief of sports medicine at UMass Memorial Medical Center, and the team physician for several area programs. “We are ultimately the people who protect these athletes and make sure they’re getting the best care possible.”

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Pre-game: Athletes have different needs

For a 1 p.m. home football game, Chiaranda, who oversees Assumption’s football, women’s swimming and lacrosse teams, as well as the track and field throwers, arrives to work at about 9 a.m.

She sets up the hot tub, taping and treatment areas, while her work-study students set up both sidelines with six 10-gallon water jugs, ice, taping tables and emergency medical equipment, including splints, the automated external defibrillator (AED), and crutches. They also set up the visiting locker room with water, ice and taping tables.

After the team breakfast, players will start filing in to the training room for soft tissue treatments, massage, stretching and taping.

“From 11:30 to 12:30, I literally stand in front of the taping table and tape whatever I need to tape,” Chiaranda said.

About two hours before a recent Holy Cross women’s basketball game, players streamed into the sports medicine department to see associate head athletic trainer Alicia Caswell, who oversees the women’s basketball team. Caswell helped one player stretch her back, another loosened up on the stationary bike, another had an ultrasound treatment on her ankle.

Worcester State’s new athletic training area is also a pre-game hub.

“Any given day, kids are all over this room,” said Worcester State head athletic trainer Jessica Meany, pointing to the open space, which athletes use for stretching, and to the tables, where they may get a pre-game hot pack treatment on their leg or their ankle taped.

“Once the game starts, hopefully, we get to watch and not see any injuries,” Worcester Academy head athletic trainer Jamie Mili said. “That’s a good feeling for us, but we’re prepared for whatever happens.”

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Game day: Ready to spring into action

Cerundolo and two or three members of his staff, as well as several team physicians, are on the sideline during a Holy Cross football game.

The NCAA requires that an ambulance is on site for football games. HC has an ambulance and paramedics at all athletic events.

Every August at Assumption, Chiaranda and her staff train with the ambulance company.

“They bring the ambulance (to the football field) and we go over spine boarding, we practice putting a kid on a spine board, and all the emergency situations, so in case it does happen, we’ve done it before,” she said.

In addition to an athletic trainer, a physician is required to be present for college football and ice hockey games.

In the first half of a HC football game two seasons ago, quarterback Peter Pujals was tackled after rushing for no gain on a third-down call. After the play, Pujals knelt on all fours and slapped the ground.

Cerundolo ran onto the field to assess the situation.

“We thought at first maybe he caught his ankle and maybe it was an ankle sprain,” Cerundolo said.

Pujals was slow to get up, but hobbled off the field while accompanied by Cerundolo and other members of the athletic training staff, including a team physician. Once Pujals was on the sideline, the evaluation continued.

“On the sideline we were palpating and probing him to see where the injury was,” Cerundolo said.

Pujals spent the rest of the first half on the sideline and was re-evaluated in the locker room at halftime. Pujals had swelling and pain. Cerundolo informed former coach Tom Gilmore that Pujals would not be able to go back in the game. After the game, he went for an X-ray at St. Vincent Hospital and a couple days later an MRI, which revealed a fracture of his lower left fibula.

Pujals missed the rest of the year, but the fracture was non-displaced so he didn’t need surgery. When he was ready, he began rehabbing with Cerundolo and returned to play last season.

Meany will sit near the home bench during a WSU basketball game. If a player goes down in a game, the first order of business, Meany said, “is to try to calm the athlete. Make sure it’s not a serious injury. If it’s a knee injury, for example, we’ll make sure it looks structurally good and there is no major deformity. If the athlete is in severe pain, we’ll immobilize it with a splint, your hands, an Ace bandage, to get them back to the bench so you can evaluate it further. You make sure that person is safe to move. You determine if you need to transport or call 911 or call the orthopedist.”

During an ice hockey game a few years ago, Meany said a Worcester State player took a hit, lost his helmet as he went down and hit the back of his head on the ice. She went onto the ice, stabilized him and called 911. He was taken to UMass by ambulance, ended up being fine and returned to play that season.

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Post-game: Practice coverage, injury reports

Sundays in the fall are a busy time in college athletic training offices for players’ postgame medical check-in for treatment and the first injury report of the week is compiled.

At Holy Cross and Assumption, athletic trainers communicate injury reports with coaches of all teams on a daily basis.

“Daily communication on injuries with coaches is important,” Chiaranda said. “It’s also important for the protection of the athlete.”

An HC injury report includes the athlete’s name, the affected body part, the type of injury (sprain or strain for example), his/her limitations in the weight room, his/her status for practice or the next game, which is determined through collaborative discussions between the athletic trainer and physician, and any other pertinent notes.

Chiaranda documents injuries in SportsWare, which is a medical records software.

Team physicians hold weekly clinics for athletes at local colleges. Dr. Busconi and Dr. Jay Broadhurst cover Holy Cross, Dr. Busconi Worcester State as well, and Dr. Lee Mancini Assumption, for example.

“Our accessibility with UMass phenomenal,” Meany said. “We had a basketball player get injured Saturday. Dr. Busconi saw her Monday. She had an MRI Wednesday. Within four days we knew the plan. I told Dr. Busconi the other day we could use that as a recruiting tool. We are so fortunate to have that access.”

In conjunction with UMass Amherst, Holy Cross also has an excellent sports medicine fellowship program which provides extra coverage for its sports teams.

Holy Cross’ nine athletic trainers cover practices and competitions for all of the college’s contact sports teams.

According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) recommendations and guidelines for appropriate medical coverage of intercollegiate athletics, sports with increased risk (based on injury rate index and catastrophic index) should have a certified athletic trainer physically present for all practices. According to NATA, those sports include men’s basketball, football, men’s and women’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s ice hockey, skiing and wrestling.

The NATA recommendations and guidelines state that “while the task force encourages the physical presence of certified athletic trainers at all home competitions, competition coverage of sports with lower unit values (e.g., golf, outdoor track) will be left to institutional discretion.”

At Assumption, there are four athletic trainers for 24 teams and 550 athletes, so if there is a practice schedule conflict, priority is given to high-risk sports (football, ice hockey, men’s lacrosse).

“It’s always better if you can see an injury happen,” Chiranda said. “It gives you a little bit of insight of how you’re going to treat it or what the injury could be. Being at practice is helpful with that. Last year, I watched a women’s lacrosse player get hurt. I watched it happen and by looking at it, I knew it was her ACL. When we’re covering practice that’s what we’re doing – watching the athlete – and if they get hurt, gaining insight to what might have happened.”

Meany, her full-time assistant Kevin MacLennan and part-time assistant Jason Anderson alternate covering practices for WSU’s 19 teams.

“We make sure every practice and every home competition for every sport is appropriately staffed,” Meany said.

Athletic activities in which an institution decides a certified athletic trainer need not be in attendance, NATA recommendations state, one individual certified in CPR, first aid and AED usage must be present.

Sometimes, athletic trainers cover the visiting teams if an athletic trainer does not travel with a certain team.

In addition, NCAA member institutions should have on file and update annually an emergency action plan for each athletics venue as well as a catastrophic incident guideline.

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High schools: Making the position a priority

At 2:45 on a recent Wednesday afternoon, there were six student-athletes in the athletic training room at Shrewsbury High.

“This is a slow day,” said Walter Hildebrand, Shrewsbury’s High’s athletic trainer. “At the start of winter sports season, we’ll have about 30 kids here with a line out the door.”

Hildebrand provided one-on-one attention to each athlete, including evaluating a football player’s knee, doing an ultrasound treatment on a girls’ lacrosse player’s ankle, and, after senior cross-country and indoor track star Maura McNamara sat at the taping station with a heating pad under her calf for about 10-15 minutes, massaged her lower leg before McNamara began her workout.

“It helps with recovery,” McNamara said.

Hildebrand is in his seventh year at Shrewsbury High. For the first six, Shrewsbury High contracted with All-Access Physical Therapy, where Hildebrand worked.

“This year they decided to take the position in house and now I work for the high school,” he said. “I think it’s essential. Not all schools have the position. I think it’s a really good advantage for schools to have an athletic trainer because we’re the first ones who deal with an injury. Coaches are busy coaching, and by having us on staff, I think we play an essential role not only keeping our kids healthier, but if someone sustains an injury, getting them back to the field faster.”

According to the MIAA, “schools must have medical coverage at all levels of football, wrestling and rugby, and at varsity boys’ and girls’ ice hockey games per sport rules. The school designated as the home team, or the host site identified with a participating school, is recommended to have an AED on site (and accessible) or with their medical person for all athletic events.”

In a Telegram & Gazette survey of Central Mass. high school athletic directors, 13 of those who responded said they employ a full-time athletic trainer, nine a part-time athletic trainer, eight hire per diem athletic trainers and nine said they do not employ an athletic trainer.

“I think we’re seeing an expansion of the role in high schools,” Grafton High director of athletics Jim Scanlon said. “Obviously, with budgetary restraints districts may not be able to afford that position. My perspective is if you can afford to have an athletic program, you absolutely should make having an athletic trainer a priority.”

Schools that do not employ an athletic trainer may hire an EMT and/or ambulance for single-game coverage, or a per diem athletic trainer.

Scanlon served as Grafton’s head athletic trainer until becoming AD this year. Sarah Mealy has moved into the head athletic trainer position at the school while Scanlon continues in the role part time.

“We provide direct coverage for all practices and home competitions for all sports,” Scanlon said. “We’re mandated to cover football and ice hockey, so those take priority in the event we have multiple competitions going on at the same time.”

Scanlon believes educating athletes about an athletic trainer’s role in injury prevention, care and emergency preparedness is vital.

“During preseason meetings,” Scanlon said, “we introduced Sarah, explained her position, what she’s available for and what kind of care she provides.”

In addition to athletic trainers, all members of the athletic staff are required to be CPR and AED certified, Scanlon said.

Mili, who is in his 27th year at Worcester Academy, had the privilege of beginning his career under the legendary Bill “Doc” Samko at WA. Samko, who passed away in 2014 at age 95, was a pioneer in his field and helped to establish the first state and national standards for athletic trainers.

A photo of Samko hangs prominently in the WA athletic training room.

Mili and his two assistants cover 50 teams (middle school, freshman, junior varsity and varsity levels) at Worcester Academy. That includes all home games and practices.

Mili said the NEPSAC, of which Worcester Academy is a member, also requires teams to travel with an athletic trainer.

WA student-athletes may stop in for an evaluation or treatment during a free period, “but the bulk of what we do is after class,” Mili said.

Mili said other prep schools typically have two or three athletic trainers like WA.

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Concussions: Assessing symptoms, daily monitoring

Athletic trainers monitor concussion symptoms (stumbling, slurred speech, vomiting, dizziness, disorientation) closely.

“If we suspect you have head trauma — you get hit and you present any signs or symptoms — you’re removed from practice or the game immediately,” Cerundolo said.

“That also applies if a kid reports symptoms or if a teammate tells you a kid reported symptoms,” Chiaranda said. “When in doubt, take them out.”

The NCAA states that “any student-athlete with signs/symptoms/behaviors consistent with concussion must be removed from practice or competition, must be evaluated by an athletic trainer or team physician with concussion experience and must be removed from practice/play for that calendar day if concussion is confirmed.”

If an athlete has symptoms and is removed, he/she is evaluated on the sideline.

“We’ll do a SCAT 5 neurological form (standardized sideline concussion screening tool) which I then present to the physician,” Cerundolo said.

If a concussion is confirmed, daily monitoring begins.

“They fill out a symptom checklist every day,” Chiaranda said. “When they are symptom free, we start objective measures.”

Athletes take a pre-participation (before the season) baseline concussion assessment test.

“We have all that in the data bank, so when the athlete says they are symptom free, the first step is to take that test again so we can see their scores,” Chiaranda said.

Once the athlete has returned to baseline, the athletic trainer oversees a progression management plan that includes light aerobic exercise without resistance training, sport-specific exercise and activity without head impact, non-contact practice with progressive resistance training, unrestricted training and, after consultation with a physician, return to competition.

All concussions are different.

“A lot recover in 5-7 days,” Cerundolo said. “Others last for weeks. If it continues, we follow up with neurology.”

Returning to the classroom is also part of the process.

“It’s ‘return to learn’ first,” Meany said. “We follow the NCAA protocol and our coaching staff is very supportive. We all have a common goal and that is the well-being of the student and athlete.”

The NCAA concussion management plan states that medical personnel with training in the diagnosis, treatment and initial management of acute concussion must be present (on site at the campus or arena of the competition) at all NCAA varsity competitions in the following contact/collision sports: basketball, equestrian, field hockey, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, pole vault, rugby, skiing, soccer and wrestling.

Medical personnel with training the diagnosis, treatment and initial management of acute concussion must be available (able to be contacted by immediate communication means) at all NCAA varsity practices for the same sports.

The MIAA follows a similar concussion protocol.

“Any student,” Rule 56 states, “who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion shall be immediately removed from the practice or competition and must not return to practice or competition that day, and further shall not return to play until cleared (in writing to the athletic director) by an appropriate health-care professional.”

The state of Massachusetts requires that parents be notified if their son or daughter is removed from practice or competition. If a concussion is diagnosed, a gradual return-to-classes, return-to-sports plan begins.

“We have a seven-day return-to-play process,” Hildebrand said. “We offer ImPACT (immediate post-concussion assessment and cognitive testing) testing and get them in to see the team doctor. Once they are symptom-free for no less than 48 hours, then we start our graduated process, which entails light exercise. If they are symptom-free, then we ramp it up to some interval work, then more sports specific work. If they are symptom-free, then non-contact practice, then contact practice. If they do well with all that, they are cleared. If their symptoms come back, we go back to square one.”

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Education: Multi-skilled healthcare providers

More than 70 percent of athletic trainers hold at least a master’s degree, according to NATA. Athletic training students are educated to provide comprehensive patient care in prevention, clinical evaluation and diagnosis, immediate and emergency care, treatment and rehabilitation and organization and professional health and well-being.

“The curriculum athletic trainers go through is pretty much pre-med,” said Cerundolo, who earned his bachelor’s in athletic training and physical education from Northeastern and his master’s degree in applied anatomy and physiology from Boston University.

Additionally, to become a certified athletic trainer, a student must pass a comprehensive test administered by the Board of Certification (BOC), and, one certified, meet ongoing continuing education requirements in order to remain certified.

“Athletic trainers are multi-skilled healthcare providers,” Dr. Busconi said.

Holy Cross sports medicine provides immersive internship opportunities for athletic training students from Springfield College, Lasell, Quinnipiac and Moravian College.

“They are here to help and learn,” Cerundolo said.

Like most who work in sports, athletic trainers often work long and non-traditional hours.

In the fall season, Chiaranda works 12 hours a day, Tuesday-Sunday.

“It slows down a bit in the spring,” she said, “but the schedule is never the same.”

During the day and before practices begin in late afternoon, athletes make appointments with Chiaranda and her staff for soft tissue treatments, massage and rehab, and the athletic training staff also spends time at the computer doing administrative tasks like updating medical records and submitting insurance claims.

Meany said her day-to-day operations are basically the same as when she started in the profession 18 years ago.

“I still tape an ankle the same way as I did then,” she said, “but I see now that athletes come in to college more exposed to athletic trainers and what we do. Most have an athletic trainer in high school and they know what we do on a daily basis, and, with that said, they’re seeking us out appropriately.”

Dr. Busconi began his career in sports medicine working with well-known orthopedist Dr. Arthur Pappas and has been a team physician for schools like Holy Cross and Worcester Academy for 25 years.

His relationships with schools’ athletic trainers are strong. They communicate on a daily basis. It is evident he has a great deal of respect and admiration for those in the profession.

“We have to recognize the prime effort and the absolute endurance that these healthcare professionals have in terms of taking care of the athletes,” Dr. Busconi said. “It’s remarkable, their dedication to the athletes and to the schools. They have fantastic interpersonal skills and unbelievable empathy. They truly understand how to nurture somebody through an injury. They’re decisive and confident. They have to be able to make good and confident decisions in the face of anxious situations. I am fortunate to be able to work with these healthcare professionals.”

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Relationships: The mental aspect of injuries

Holy Cross junior Maggie Locke’s athletic journey has been a difficult and sometimes painful one.

A junior forward on the women’s basketball team, knee injuries have limited her to 30 games in three seasons. She has not played this year.

At the end of her freshman season, she underwent microfracture surgery, performed by Dr. Busconi, on her right knee. After a months-long recovery, she tried to play last year, but made into just 10 games.

“The surgery was successful,” Locke said, “but it wasn’t enough.”

Dr. Busconi referred her to a specialist in Hartford and he performed a procedure that involved moving part of Locke’s tibia over in order to align her knee cap properly. She had two screws inserted.

Locke is now in the phase of rehabbing and strengthening with Holy Cross associate head athletic trainer Alicia Caswell, who oversees the women’s basketball team.

Over the last three years, Locke has spent a lot of time in HC’s athletic training room working with Caswell. Currently, Locke is rehabbing six times a week. During practice, she will alternate cardio, circuits and ab exercises.

“When I’m done, I’ll watch practice and cheer,” Locke said, “but Alicia works me hard on the sidelines.”

Leading up to her surgery last summer, Locke could not run or do any type of high impact exercise. She used the anti-gravity treadmill in HC’s athletic training area.

“I was able to keep up my cardio all summer without pounding,” she said. “It’s like you’re lighter and you’re lifted up as you drop the percentage of body weight. You can run much faster and longer because your legs don’t get fatigued. There is less impact.”

Locke has formed a very strong bond with Caswell.

“I got really close to her,” Locke said. “I would look to her whenever anything would go wrong in practice, not just if my knee hurt. Even if I wasn’t playing well, I would look to her and she would help me talk it out. It’s not always related to my injury. She’s someone to talk to, my confidante.”

Perkins, too, said HC’s athletic trainers have helped more than just physically.

“I’m really glad I have people like Wally and ’Dolo here,” Perkins said. “They’ve also helped me with the mental part. A lot of times you don’t realize there is a mental aspect when you get injured in sports. You can feel better physically, but it’s also a mental setback, too, and they are nurturing me and getting me through that, too.”

“When parents drop their son or daughter off at Mount St. James,” Cerundolo said, “we want to assure them they are in good hands.”

Trust is central to the relationship between a student-athlete and an athletic trainer.

“It’s very important to build relationships,” Chiaranda said. “Athletes value our opinion. They know we’re looking out for their best interest. The coaches trust us as well, the doctors, the parents. We all pride ourselves on that.”

“Dr. Busconi refers to this as a sports medicine family,” Mili said. “We all work together as a team (athletic trainers, players, coaches, parents, physicians). We couldn’t do it without them, they couldn’t do it without us. The communication that has to happen between all of us has to be there to make it work. It’s vital.”

McNamara said Hildebrand is treating her calf injury, but it’s more than that.

“He knows I want to get back out and he’ll make sure I can as soon as possible,” McNamara said. “He knows us really well, our sports, our times, our schoolwork, our families. It’s a great personal connection.”

#AT4ALLSecondary SchoolSudden Cardiac Death

Irvington athletic trainer Hana Gross is a true life saver


Article reposted from lohud

Hana Gross does not work at Pelham Memorial High School, but her shift on Dec. 27 ended up being one that would change her life – and that of a local basketball player – forever.

Gross was part of a team of individuals that resuscitated Blind Brook boys basketball player Jordan Schoen after he collapsed in the middle of a game at Pelham Memorial High School and went into sudden cardiac arrest.

Schoen flatlined for about a minute while Gross – along with Pelham detective John Hynes, Pelham police officer Michael Sheehy, and a Blind Brook parent who is a doctor but did not wish to be identified – worked on him.

“You almost turn into a machine and you just do it,” she said, referring to the treatment. “It was literally a perfect storm. Especially being my first time live, to have all that support, you couldn’t ask for a better situation.”

CARDIAC ARREST: Blind Brook basketball player revived during game

CARDIAC ARREST: Blind Brook basketball player recovers in hospital after collapse, revival

UNSUNG HEROES: Behind-the-scenes workers are critical for local athletic programs

Schoen was rushed to New Rochelle Hospital Emergency Department, where he was stabilized, and later transferred to the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx. The Pelham Police Department’s work in blocking traffic allowed Schoen to reach the hospital in just seven minutes.

“You’re never really expecting it,” Gross said of the life-or-death situation. “It’s so rare in the setting of athletic training because you’re with the active, healthy population, so for something like that to happen is really, I think, rare.”

Dr. Robert Pass, the Associate Chief of Pediatric Cardiology at Montefiore Medical Center, performed a two-and-a-half-hour procedure on Schoen that involved putting a defibrillator and pacemaker in his heart.

Pass said the result would have been catastrophic had Schoen not promptly received the proper medical treatment.

“It is the only reason that he is alive,” Pass said.

Gross works for Symmetry Physical Therapy in Pelham, but is contracted to Irvington High School, where she is the head athletic trainer. Ruth Gillespie, who also works for Symmetry and is the head athletic trainer at Pelham, asked Gross to cover for her while she was out of town.

With approximately one minute left in the first quarter, Schoen fell backwards onto the floor.

Gross initially suspected that Schoen fainted from not eating breakfast before the noon tipoff. Schoen quickly began seizing, and when his father Steve informed Gross that his son had no history of seizures, treatment for sudden cardiac arrest began immediately.

The doctor in attendance did chest compressions while the police officers hooked up the automated external defibrillator. Gross tended to Schoen’s airway, which proved to be a prominent factor in his survival.

“CPR being delivered is what prevented this athlete’s death,” said Yorktown athletic trainer Dave Byrnes, president of the Section 1 Athletic Trainers’ Society. “I would bet money that if there were not professional rescuers on scene, that he would not have lived.”

Alice and Jessica Schoen, Jordan’s mother and sister, have taken CPR classes since the incident. Steve and Alice Schoen are now on a mission to highlight the importance of knowing how to conduct CPR and of having defibrillators accessible to the public.

“My son is incredibly lucky,” Alice Schoen said. “I have since learned that there are many teen athletes that aren’t as lucky, and I’m really trying to move forward and educate and learn about the importance of AEDs – that they’re available to the public where needed – and bystander CPR.”

Gross said she did not do anything out of the ordinary.

“When it comes down to it, you’re just doing your job,” she said.

The reality of saving a life also hasn’t hit her, she said, even though a certificate acknowledging her heroic efforts hangs on the wall next to her desk at Irvington High School.

“No, I don’t think so,” she said. “I was almost in a trance for like a week.”

“I don’t even know if I could pick him out of a lineup,” she added.

Gross said the Dec. 27 incident, while horrifying, shows what athletic trainers may sometimes – but hopefully never – have to face on the job.

“I think it’s important for schools to know that we’re not just taping ankles, we’re not slapping ice on kids – it’s bigger than that,” she said. “To have the proper medical coverage is really important.”

Byrnes, the Yorktown athletic trainer, was a little more blunt with his feelings on the value of certified athletic trainers in schools.

“If a school can afford to have sports, they can afford to have an athletic trainer,” he said. “I don’t think you can have one without the other. You wouldn’t drop your kids off at a pool without a lifeguard, but yet every day millions of parents drop their kids off at a practice or a game and there’s no athletic trainer there.”

Twitter: @Zacchio_LoHud
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#AT4ALLSecondary SchoolSudden Cardiac Death

AED saves another athlete in Texas thanks to quick thinking athletic trainer


Article reposted from USA Today High School Sports

When Jesuit soccer star Christian Lerma collapsed during a recent boys soccer match at Dallas-area rival Richardson Pearce, the homestanding Pearce athletic trainer had to think quickly.

Luckily, the school had an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on site, and training to prepare for just such an evolving situation has become routine enough that Tara Grubbs knew precisely what to do.

“He was kind of gasping, but not breathing,” Grubbs told the Dallas Morning News about the frightening incident. “We learn in CPR, that’s a sign of possible cardiac arrest.

“His eyes were open, but it was like no one was there. He was unresponsive. … By the time the ambulance got there, thankfully he had started breathing and we were able to find a pulse.”

Of course by that point, Lerma’s life had effectively already been saved by Grubbs and others on the scene. The Pearce head athletic trainer had immediately signaled for others to summon emergency help after seeing Lerma on the field. She had a Jesuit player retrieve the AED she brought with her from the school gym to the field then shocked Lerma back into consciousness.

According to Grubbs, her intervention with Lerma marked the third time that a school in Richardson ISD has had to use an AED in the past two years. Perhaps foreseeing such a need, the Richardson ISD placed four AEDs in the halls and facilities at Pearce, access which Grubbs is convinced was nothing short of life-saving.

I would like to thank those who have kept me and my family in their prayers through this difficult time. I would also like to thank Mr. Davis, Mr. Miniguitti, and @MustangsATC for saving my life. I would also like to thank all those teammates who came to visit me in a busy day!

That, combined with ever-expanding awareness of the need for vigilant readiness in the case of a cardiac episode — and the necessary training that goes with it — has helped save numerous lives, both in the Dallas area and beyond.

“I’m very thankful that our school district has provided those for us and sees that they are so important. I don’t think other school districts are as well-equipped as we are.”

#AT4ALLSecondary SchoolSudden Cardiac Death

White Plains Athletic Trainer Hailed As Hero For Saving Boy’s Life


Article reposted from CBS New York
Author: CBS New York

 A White Plains high school athletic trainer spoke Tuesday of how he saved an athlete’s life after the freshmanslammed his head on the gym floor.

“You’ve got someone else’s life in your hands,” said Max Anderson, athletic trainer at Archbishop Stepinac High School, “and you just want to bring them back.”

As CBS2’s Marc Liverman reported Tuesday, that is exactly what Anderson did last Friday. There were less than two minutes to go in a freshman basketball game where the Bronx’s Mount St. Michael Academy was taking on Archbishop Stepinac.

Anderson looked up from the corner of the gym.

“I see the kid go up for a rebound, and when he comes down, he just lands right on his back and actually smacked his head right into the ground,” Anderson said.

The athlete was left holding his head in pain on the gym floor. Anderson ran over, and within less than a minute, he said the student stopped breathing.

Right away, Anderson started giving the student CPR.

“The only thing you’re thinking about is getting the guy breathing again,” he said.

It all happened right here on this side of the court in the paint. Anderson said he gave the student five compressions and then he started breathing again, and he said what happened next is something he’ll never forget.

“He let out this huge gasp, and it was the best sound I ever heard,” Anderson said. “Some of my athletes even mentioned the whole gym could hear that gasp. You could hear a pin drop in here, and it was the loudest, best sound ever.”

Within minutes, EMS was on the scene and the freshman was taken to the hospital. The student as of Tuesday was recovering at home, but was cleared to come back to school.

His mother put out a message on Facebook: “Words cannot express how grateful I am to this man for his quick response and amazing heart. He saved my baby boy – he will forever be our hero.”

“It’s why you do athletic training,” Anderson said. “You’re out here six to seven days a week just to help these kids.”

Anderson has been working as an athletic trainer just for the past two years.


Secondary School

Indiana Athletic trainer works behind the scenes to help keep athletes safe


Article reposted from The Tribune

Since 2013, one man has always worked behind the bench — and the scenes — at Seymour High School: Kyle Coates.

Whether it’s the summer, fall, winter or spring, the certified athletic trainer is ready at a moment’s notice to help keep athletes healthy and safe at Seymour.

Coates has worked in the world of sports medicine for a number of years and is a Jackson County native.

After graduating from Brownstown Central High School in 2001, Coates got a bachelor’s degree in athletic training at Indiana University.

He then earned a master’s degree in sports management at Eastern Kentucky University while also working as a graduate assistant as an assistant athletic trainer. During his time at EKU, Coates said he worked with the women’s volleyball and track teams.

Out of school, Coates got straight to work in the field.

“I worked for a physical therapy company originally called Advanced Physical Therapy, and then it was bought out by ATI Physical Therapy,” Coates said. “I did industrial rehabilitation. I worked with employees in industrial settings like factories and packing facilities. I would do the physical therapy and rehab to get them back to work. I helped out in physical therapy clinics, as well.”

In 2013, Coates got the call from Schneck Medical Center in Seymour.

“Schneck called me because they knew I lived in the area and knew I was an athletic trainer,” Coates said. “The athletic trainer at Seymour High School had resigned and moved on to another school. The school was looking to replace that, and the hospital really wanted to take that over. At the same time, we hired a couple orthopedic surgeons that were interested in sports medicine, so they thought it would be a good fit to tie that in with the athletic trainers at the school.”

Two years into the job, Schneck expanded its outreach. They now have athletic trainers at all Jackson County schools, as well as Scottsburg and Jennings County.

“Basically, we’re employed by the hospital, but we’re working in the schools,” Coates said. “We’re pretty much contracted to the school. They give us free reign of how we want to manage the sports medicine at each of the schools.”

Coates attends every home sporting event year-round and also works during the summer.

“We’re contracted to work all the home events for sports, and for football, we’re also contracted to travel with them,” Coates said. “Outside of that, it’s kind of up to us how we handle our treatments. The referral process is kind of the same across the board. We’re going to refer to surgeons, physical therapists, neurologists or to the emergency room.”

Each day during the school year, Coates goes through a routine.

Coates shows up to the school around the last block of the day and works out of the athletic training room at the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium.

As soon as the bell rings, athletes funnel in and out of his office.

If the athlete has a game that day, he will work with them at least two hours in advance to make sure they’re ready for the day.

During games, Coates is in attendance to help with any injuries that may occur for either team.

He then helps athletes at the end of games before heading home.

In order to keep up with advances in sports medicine, Coates is required to put in time outside of his job.

“Athletic trainers are required to have 50 hours of continuing education every two years,” Coates said. “A lot of other health care professions don’t require that much. Sometimes, you think it’s a little above and beyond, but there are so many different philosophies, techniques and treatments out there. You have to stay on top of them or you will be behind. “

Coates has seen the benefits of having an athletic trainer on staff with the schools.

“I think it’s pretty neat because I grew up in this area,” Coates said. “I played sports (basketball and tennis) at Brownstown, so being in the community and helping the teams we played for is pretty special. Growing up, we never had athletic trainers. As that has grown, it’s neat to see all these communities in our (area) are getting athletic trainers. I think, in this county, we have great access to sports medicine, which we didn’t have 10 to 15 years ago.”

For Coates, building relationships with the students and staff at Seymour is rewarding.

“Some other health care providers get to see their patients once or twice a year,” Coates said. “I get to see the kids almost every day for four years. It creates a close bond, working with those kids on a daily basis.

“I’ve always loved sports. I’ve always loved being around sports. When I found out this is a career where you could actually help out athletes stay on the field or in the game, whatever they’re playing, I knew it’s something I would be interested in. You create close bonds with people, and I love working with people.”

Outside of his work, Coates spends his time with his wife, Holly, and sons, Grady, 8, Cooper, 4, and Colton, 2.

Secondary SchoolSudden Cardiac Death

Texas High School player collapses at practice, revived by athletic trainer


Article reposted from My San Antonio
Author: Adam Zuvanich

Reagan’s basketball season has so far been defined by a series of close losses.

It may ultimately be defined by the way the Rattlers responded in a time of crisis, because their performance under pressure Tuesday morning helped the team avoid the ultimate loss.

A Reagan player, who the Express-News confirmed is reserve junior guard Kaeyel Moore, collapsed on the court and went into cardiac arrest while warming up for Tuesday’s practice. He stopped breathing and was resuscitated by assistant athletic trainer Joe Martinez, who performed CPR and used an automated external defibrillator (AED) before turning Moore over to paramedics.

Martinez and Reagan coach John Hirst both said Wednesday one of their players remains hospitalized and is undergoing tests. Hirst said he is conscious, comfortable and has experienced no more episodes, which is a relief to the rest of the Rattlers.

“It was a life-changing experience for everyone involved yesterday,” Hirst said. “We’re just so grateful and feel so fortunate that things worked out like they did. He could very easily not be with us right now.”

Martinez said Moore was suffering from ventricular tachycardia, a condition in which the lower chambers of the heart beat abnormally fast. Prior to Tuesday, Martinez said he had shown no signs of the condition or experienced any similar issues.

Hirst said he initially thought Moore, a first-year varsity player who has scored six points this season for Reagan (10-12), had tripped and fallen. The coach quickly discovered the situation was more serious and called for Martinez.

Moore had turned blue, was not breathing and did not have a pulse when Martinez began chest compressions and hooked Moore up to the AED, a machine that monitors heart function and provides automated feedback.

“When it said, ‘Shock advised, clear the patient,’ that’s when I knew this was not good,” Martinez said. “He’s in a pretty bad spot right now if he needs a shock.”

Moments after administering the shock and resuming chest compressions, Martinez said Moore started breathing again, regained consciousness and even was coherent and smiling. An ambulance took Moore to North Central Baptist Hospital, which is directly behind the Reagan campus.

Martinez, 27, a San Diego, Texas, native in his second year at Reagan, said it was the first time he had to use CPR and an AED in a “real-life scenario.” He said he merely reacted and utilized his training, then became emotional afterward.

“Martinez was a hero yesterday. He was a flat-out hero,” Hirst said. “He’ll be a hero to me for as long as I live.”

Hirst said he is unsure how long Moore will be hospitalized — he was temporarily transported to Methodist Hospital on Wednesday for more tests — and does not anticipate him playing again this season.

Secondary School

Ohio Athletic Trainer plays important athletic role at Ansonia High School


Article reposted from Bluebag Media
Author: Gaylen Blosser

Kurt Moneysmith, a Mississinawa Valley graduate is in his sixth year as Athletic Trainer for the Ansonia Tigers sports teams, one of six Darke County schools associated with Wayne HealthSports.

“I’m just thankful that Wayne HealthSports started these programs for the smaller schools because those are usually the schools that are left out,” said Moneysmith. “They are a good organization and we are fortunate to have them.”

“Kurt Moneysmith has been employed with Wayne HealthSports since 2012,” said Jim Beyke, Director of Wayne HealthSports Rehab Services. “I contacted the state licensure board in 2012 and obtained a list of licensed Athletic Trainers living in the area. Kurt had just finished his Master’s degree and was available to interview for our position at Ansonia schools. I remember Kurt’s dad answering the phone that day. He seemed pretty excited for Kurt to have an opportunity in Darke County and close to home.”

Moneysmith and his wife Nicole are the parents of two sons, 18 month old Kash and 2 month old Kingston, making their home in the Ansonia school district.

Moneysmith grew up on the Union City family cattle farm and still finds time to help his parents, Bruce and Diane as time allows.

“Kurt has been a great fit at Ansonia,” Beyke said. “He knows the community very well having attended school at Mississinawa Valley growing up. Kurt has been able to help his dad with the family farm while becoming a great Athletic Trainer.”

While attending MVHS, Moneysmith played baseball, basketball and football and went on to a four year football career with the Capitol University Crusaders where he earned a bachelor’s degree before going to Defiance College, receiving a master’s degree in education.

“I knew I wanted to do something with sports and I knew I liked helping people, so that’s what I went to school for,” said Moneysmith, “Playing high school and college sports really helped me with being an athletic trainer. I got to see both sides of the athlete.”

“Playing football in college you see a whole different side of the sport,” continued Moneysmith. “Those experiences helped me with athletic training.”

“Kurt had a football background in high school and college,” Beyke said. “Having experience as an athlete really helps an Athletic Trainer understand injuries. Kurt is passionate about sports, He really cares about his athletes and coaching staff.”

Moneysmith is pleased Darke County athletes have an opportunity to remain local when medical attention is needed, reducing travel time and expenses traveling to Dayton.

“The communities just seem happier that they can get their kids in faster to see doctors for any issue – the same doctors that come up here work down around Dayton too,” noted Moneysmith. “It’s easier for the families to get their kids here. They’re not missing out on as many sports or school. That’s really nice.”

Today’s Athletic Trainers play an important role returning injured players back to the court or field in a timely, yet safe manor.

“You want to get those kids back as fast as possible but you have to be efficient in what you’re doing also – because that’s your job,” Moneysmith said.

“Kurt is very knowledgeable in his field and knows how to get his athletes back into action safely and quickly,” Beyke noted. “Kurt is very organized and keeps statistics for the Wayne HealthSports team. This includes coordinating information with our five other Athletic Trainers.

One observing Moneysmith court-side or on the field, it is quickly obvious he enjoys the career path he has chosen and encourages high schoolers to consider a health care career.

“The health industry is booming and the need is always there, especially with sports,” said Moneysmith. “Kids coming out of school that don’t know what they are going to do should really look into any health field because there are jobs, especially with athletic training. It’s projected to keep on growing.”

“We often count on Kurt to help take the lead at big events such as sports physicals each spring,” concluded Beyke. “This event is coordinated with Family Health and Orthopedic Associates of Southwest Ohio. We typically provide sports physicals for over 300 local athletes. This is a big undertaking and it is great having Kurt on our team.”

Secondary School

Iowa Athletic Trainer spends a lot of time on the sidelines to help ensure that athletes don’t


Article reposted from The Messenger

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson

Bre Drees, an athletic trainer for UnityPoint Health, assesses the wrist of Brayden Bell, 17, a senior at Fort Dodge Senior High, recently.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Bre Drees, an athletic trainer for UnityPoint Health, assesses the wrist of Brayden Bell, 17, a senior at Fort Dodge Senior High, recently.

When a cross country runner suffers a gruesome leg injury or a football player is forced from action after a taking big hit, Bre Drees is often the first one to provide medical aid.

Drees, of Fort Dodge, is a full-time athletic trainer for UnityPoint Health.

She is also a part-time health instructor at Fort Dodge Senior High.

“Depending on the time of day, it’s two different jobs,” she said.

Most of the time, Drees can be found on the sidelines during FDSH sports practices, games, and meets.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson

Bre Drees, an athletic trainer for UnityPoint Health, prepares her medical bag at Fort Dodge Senior High recently.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Bre Drees, an athletic trainer for UnityPoint Health, prepares her medical bag at Fort Dodge Senior High recently.

“I am there to take care of any injuries that the athletes might suffer,” she said. “Treat them. Evaluate them.”

Her goal is to return the athletes to play as quickly and safely as possible, she said.

She also helps the injured by stretching them, taping them up, and providing them with heat or ice.

“I am going to do all four of those things every day,” she said. “That’s a given.”

During winter sports, Drees walks from gym to gym to check in on practices.

She watches basketball, wrestling, and swimming.

In the fall, Drees spends most of her time at football practices. Other times she attends volleyball practice.

“Football has more athletes and higher risk of injury,” she said.

The most difficult time of year for her to balance her schedule is the summer.

“The toughest is when baseball and softball is going on because they are so far apart,” she said. “For them, the risk of injury is pretty equal, so I split my time between the two.”

Drees’ personal experience in sports contributed to her interest in athletic training.

“I was always interested in the medical field since I was a small child, but being an athlete I also really enjoyed sports,” she said. “This was one of the professions I could pursue to combine those two passions.

She added, “When I was in high school my brother had a severe leg injury in football and kind of watching him go through the whole process of returning to play got me more interested in sports medicine.”

Drees was the first eighth-grade pitcher to start for a state championship team. She pitched for Webster City High School in 2001.

While in high school she also played basketball, volleyball, and ran track.

She also pitched in college.

Drees was born and raised in Webster City. She graduated from Webster City High School in 2005.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Luther College in Decorah in 2009.

In 2011, she graduated from Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois, with a master’s degree in kinesiology.

She was hired by UnityPoint Health two days after her graduation.

In 2012, she began teaching at the high school.

She teaches two classes a day in the subjects of athletic training, health care, and coaching.

One of the most difficult aspects of her job in athletic training is trying to help a large number of athletes in a short amount of time, she said.

“Treating so many athletes in a really short time because they are in school all day and then they go directly to practice,” Drees said. “They are so busy, it’s hard to find the time to work in depth with them.”

Back injuries and ankle sprains are two of the most common injuries, according to Drees.

“Ankle sprains we can usually treat and get back out to play, where back injuries and knee injuries can sideline people for a while,” she said.

Drees said broken bones and neck injuries are some of the worst injuries she’s seen.

At state cross country, for example, she has had to treat severe broken legs.

She said the bigger events can be more of a challenge to work.

“Trying to keep the athlete calm, the family calm,” Drees said. “There’s always fans around that see it and emotions are always high during state events.”

Sometimes during games and meets, athletes aren’t the only ones who need Drees’ assistance.

“I’ve treated a lot of fans and spectators,” she said. “That’s one thing people don’t realize we do a lot of.”

From little kids with broken fingers to someone getting hit with a foul ball, Drees has to be ready for just about anything.

“I’ve had two instances where a moth was stuck in someone’s ear,” she said. “The one moth we got out with tweezers. The other had to be flushed out. We had to call the ER.”

Drees has even helped a spectator from out of town.

“Her husband sent me a really nice card for helping take care of his wife,”Drees said. “He went out of his way. He didn’t know me, so he had to look me up to even send the card. To go out of his way to send that to me made me feel like my job was more meaningful.”

In terms of treating athletes, one hot button issue is how concussions are handled.

Drees follows a mandated concussion protocol that all high school athletes have to follow.

“I would say the concussion testing is more thorough now,” she said.

Much of the testing is completed on a computer, she said.

Once a player is diagnosed with a concussion, they are required to complete a seven-step process, according to Drees.

“It starts out with complete rest until they are completely asymptomatic,”she said. “Once the symptoms have gone away, they get them back into school for a day without any symptoms.”

After that the player runs a jog, then sprints, and then they are allowed to get into team drills, she said.

“The sixth step is a full practice and the seventh step is returning back to competition,” Drees said.

There has to be a minimum of 24 hours between each step.

CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain that can impact athletes who have suffered from repeated hits.

There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the disease, according to Drees.

“We still don’t know a whole lot about it,” she said. “There is always learning to do and research to learn about. I think because of how public it is now and how often it’s in the news, more people understand the risk of concussions, so athletes and coaches are more likely to report to me if they feel like an athlete has suffered a concussion, whereas maybe five to 10 years ago they were more likely to hide it or play through it.”

She said the only way to diagnose CTE is through an autopsy.

“A lot of research is how do we diagnose this with someone who is living,”Drees said. “Another thing is how do we prevent it, which is harder to do.”

Some athletes she has treated have already suffered multiple concussions, she said.

“They are the ones more likely to ask about CTE and at what point do they stop playing,” she said. “How many is too many, and we really don’t have an answer.”

Meanwhile, Drees said she tries to educate athletes on the risks involved with playing contact sports.

One of the first things Drees had to do when she began her career was to build trust with athletes.

“Knowing they can come to me with injuries and trust that I will take care of them,” she said. “I am not going to hold them out for no reason. They don’t want to say anything because they think I won’t let them play. Building that relationship is the biggest thing for an athletic trainer.”

Drees said one of her main focuses will be on how to prevent certain types of injuries.

“Whether that’s through strength and conditioning or specific exercises to prevent knee and ankle injuries, or whatever it might be,” she said.

When Drees isn’t busy at FDSH, she also serves as a health coach for hospital employees and their spouses.

“We sit down and talk about their lifestyle and what goals they want to set as far as eating better, decreasing stress, and being more physically active, and try to come up with ways to meet those goals.”

Drees said Fort Dodge has been a good home, which did surprise her a little, she said.

“Honestly growing up in Webster City, I didn’t have the best image of Fort Dodge,” she said. “It was a place you heard about the bad things, but not the good things.”

“I didn’t really know about the good things until I lived here for a while,”she added. “I think a lot has changed, but a lot of it was that misconception of what Fort Dodge was really like growing up. Now that I am living here, I really enjoy it. It’s a lot better place than what people make it seem like.”

Secondary School

Humble but proud: Georgia’s athletic trainer’s impact hits home


Article reposted from

High school athletics are a huge part of character development for our young men and women, teaching them how to overcome adversity, work together, balance studies with extracurricular activities, and last but not least: It is their first legitimate introduction to health and fitness.
You may have heard of the “Five Parts of Physical Fitness” before – but there are actually 11 components of what a coach evaluates when assessing the physical fitness of an athlete.

These include:

1. Agility
2. Balance
3. Body Composition
4. Cardiovascular Endurance
5. Coordination
6. Flexibility
7. Muscular Endurance
8. Muscular Strength
9. Power
10. Reaction Time
11. Speed

We use these components of physical fitness in our everyday lives, but the first true test of each of these measures typically comes by way of high school sports. Strength coaches help their athletes with endurance, strength, power and balance. Conditioning coaches help their athletes with cardiovascular endurance, reaction time, coordination and agility. All coaches typically impact an athletes body composition, flexibility and speed.

The one coach who assists the athletes with all of the above, however, is the athletic trainer. Day or night, when there is a ball game, a wrestling tournament, a track meet, or even at power puff flag football; the athletic trainer stands ready to help the athletes prevent accidents, stay hydrated, and in worst-case scenarios; diagnose and treat injuries as they occur. Oftentimes their hard work is overshadowed by the gameplay itself, but when a player goes down these coaches show their true value by coming to the immediate aide of all involved.  Humbly waiting in the shadows of the sidelines, the athletic trainer answers the call that no one else would ever want to.

Jeremy King, FCHS Head Athletic Trainer

Fannin County High School’s head athletic trainer is Jeremy Keith King, a 2007 FCHS graduate who went on to study Sports Medicine with an emphasis in Athletic Training at Valdosta State University. Coach King graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree in 2011 and after completing his internship at Northeast Medical Center/The Rehabilitation Institute in Gainesville, Ga, he began his career at Fannin County High School.

In 2013, he was hired as the Head Athletic Trainer for FCHS, and he was offered a full time teaching position in Healthcare Science.

When asked about his experience, King shared that he’s worked closely with multiple doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists and EMT’s; as well as many other sports medicine professionals. “To come home to my high school and serve as the head athletic trainer and instructor of the Sports Medicine program is a dream come true for me,” King told TeamFYNSports.

We asked one of his students/trainers about her experience learning from the head athletic trainer and participating in the Sports Medicine program at FCHS.  Trudy Cobb is a senior, and could be seen carrying water bottles to players, coaches and even GHSA officials at each home and away football game this year.

It’s a great experience to get to learn things that people my age don’t usually know,” Cobb told TeamFYNSports. “Coach King is a great teacher inside the classroom working with all high school grade levels, but in OUR program we learn SO MUCH MORE.”   Cobb shared that she has been introduced to many healthcare professionals by King, and she felt that has helped her understand and develop a genuine interest in sports medicine as a potential career.

“I truly think that the key to knowing if you want to be in that career, you should immerse yourself into those type of situations,” Cobb explained, “but through [King’s] program, I have learned the hands-on of taping an ankle and working on rehabilitating athletes.  You have to know the ins-and-outs of each and every sport because not only are you watching – and hopefully enjoying – the games; you must also know the essential motions of movements that the particular athletes you are working with use. It’s an experience that I am very blessed to have been a part of through my years in high school.”

Although his position at FCHS is a demanding one, King still makes time for his family and his other passions.

“I am happily married to Christa [King] and we have two daughters, Evie and Lyla,” said King. “They attend Fannin County schools.” He added that he and his wife recently welcomed their son, Thaddeus, to “Rebel Nation” this year.

King is also a member of the Blue Ridge Rugby Club and he is a proud member of the Phi Sigma Kappa National Fraternity. “I currently still serve as a mentor and advisor for new members [of Phi Sigma Kappa] and I serve on the Alumni Board of Executives,” King explained.

TeamFYNSports had an opportunity to catch up with Coach King, and since this is the time of year so many people tend to look at their new year resolutions, we thought we’d ask him if he had any advice for anyone getting out to the gym to try and shed a few pounds after a relatively sedentary holiday break.  Here’s what he had to say:

“From an injury prevention measure, know your limitations. Don’t feel like you have to show out, your body can not just pick up right where it left off. Slowly ease yourself back into a workout program and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Gyms have personal trainers there to give you feedback and help you – if they don’t – consider a different gym. Also, don’t forget about the diet and stretching parts of a workout program. If you are wanting to get stronger or healthy, the diet is an important part of it. Our body needs “good” fuel to run on, especially if we are asking more from it. Stretching is important before and after a workout. Get a good dynamic (moving) 10-minute warm-up in before your start and a good cool down period before you stop. Static stretching (holding a stretch) is best after you are done with you entire workout. Remember it is all a process and results do not happen overnight, so stick with it even when you feel like giving up.”

We also asked King what was the most common cause for injuries in high school sports.  His answer came as no surprise:

“#1 is accidents, stepping on another players foot, a plant and twist of the knee, getting hit. They are all freak accidents that you can’t control. That is where most injuries occur, but there are preventable injuries that happen too. The number one cause of “preventable” injuries in high school sports in my opinion is not stretching enough or not stretching adequately. Whether it is a dynamic warm up or static stretching after practice, kids just don’t do it enough. Our coaches do a great job having warm ups and giving kids time to stretch but if the kids don’t actually put the effort into it then it doesn’t do much good.”

If you’re a parent of a student athlete at FCHS, you may have already known who Coach King was; do us a favor the next time you see him and shake his hand. This is one coach who has put his whole life into his education, then turned around and brought his skills back to Fannin County to apply them in our community.

We are fortunate to have Coach King as the FCHS Head Athletic Trainer.

Secondary School

California Athletic Trainer Spends Decades Assisting Student Athletes


Article reposted from The Ramona Home Journal
Author: Jack Riordan

Every year, Ramona High School sees dozens of senior student-athletes graduate, and in the fall, a comparable number of freshmen arrive to replenish the ranks.

The strength in an athletic program that can manage that ebb and flow of talent starts with the athletes themselves, but is emboldened by a litany of participants in support roles behind the scenes that help give the Bulldogs every advantage on the field, on the court, in the pool, on the track and beyond.
Since 1996, RHS Athletic Trainer Steve Pettis has seen a lot of senior classes bid the school farewell, and has welcomed many a freshman class.
Pettis grew up with his sights set on a career as a paramedic, but once he decided that he really did not like giving shots or drawing blood, it became apparent that he might want to find a new path. It was during his college years at Point Loma Nazarene University that he discovered athletic training.
“It was like being a paramedic for athletes, and having played sports my whole life, I thought, ‘That sounds cool,’” Pettis says.
Once he graduated, a colleague at the university introduced him to Joe Bess from a little town called Ramona.
Bess, also a Point Loma Nazarene alum, spent two decades coaching a number of sports at Ramona High and served as the school’s athletic director for 13 years. He knew that the Bulldogs could use a boost in the training room with the impending retirement of longtime trainer John Sullivan.
Pettis was hired in a part-time position at Ramona High, but was lured away by a fulltime gig at Orange Glen High School a year later. He spent a little more than two years there before the Bulldogs brought him back in the spring of 1999, into a fulltime position.
As part of his return, Pettis was asked to teach a sports medicine class for one period a day. Even though he feels more comfortable in the training room than in the classroom, he taught the class for 15 years, until it was dropped from the curriculum three years ago.
While it existed, the elective course gave an opportunity for between 20 and 30 students to learn more about athletic training each school year, and the results speak for themselves.
Pettis lists a roll call of former students who have gone on to higher education or fulltime careers in sports medicine. He estimates that somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of the students who took the sports medicine class were motivated to pursue the trade further.
“I really enjoyed teaching it,” he says, adding that he would like to see the program return. “It was a great way to interact with the kids and help some kids with what they wanted to do after high school.”
As he approaches his 25th year as an athletic trainer at the high-school level, Pettis says that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Even with the vast amount of training and nutritional information available these days on the Internet, he says he still sees kids pounding down carne asada burritos and energy drinks right before a big game.
Having grown up playing sports himself, Pettis knows all about the drive to compete, and how it can cloud an athlete’s judgment when it comes to resting and recovering from an injury. He often has to be the bearer of bad news when he determines that a student is unfit for action. But he has earned a reputation for being honest with those under his care, which is always in their best interests.
Brittany Roy is an RHS junior and a member of the Varsity Girls Soccer team. After a collision with an opponent on the pitch earlier this year, she began to experience pain in her knee. She iced it all night but told herself, “If it still hurts in the morning and after all day at school, I’m going to talk to Steve.”
After examining her knee, Pettis was concerned that Roy may have damaged her meniscus, and referred her to urgent care in Ramona, which recommended an MRI to determine the extent of the injury.
If it is determined that she will need to miss time from competition, Pettis is there to provide the physical therapy and advice to help her get back on the field as quickly as possible.
“You know, he just wants kids to get better so that they can get back out there to play what they love, so
I trust him to help me out,” she said.
When he is not assisting athletes in the training room, or roaming the sidelines at a Bulldogs’ sporting event, Pettis enjoys time with his two children. He still plays soccer, and he spends as much time as possible in the ocean.
Most people want excitement in their job. But a quiet day at the office for Steve Pettis means that no students fell victim to injury or sickness — and that is always a good day.