Athletic trainers crucial in helping injured athletes

4 Apr

Hattiesburg, MS – Here is one of the best news articles I have read in celebration of National Athletic Trainers Month.  What is especially outstanding about this piece is that it is written by a high school student.

No two people understand that importance more than Sean Copeland and his mother, Susan Copeland.

On a kick return during the 2008 Oak Grove-Petal football game, Sean’s knee snapped backwards, resulting in a tear to his PCL and severe damage to his popliteal artery, which supplies blood to the knee and muscles of the leg and calf.

Immediately following the injury, Oak Grove High School athletic trainer Kevin Mauldin, or “Doc” as he’s known by most, was quick to correctly identify the extent of Copeland’s injuries, as well as the symptoms of shock that Copeland was exhibiting.

Copeland was then sent immediately to Forrest General Hospital, where he underwent several surgeries to relieve the pressure in his leg and bypass the flow of blood around the injury, as well as PCL replacement surgery to replace the damaged ligament.

To Copeland and his mother, having Mauldin on-site when he was injured was key to saving his leg after such a severe injury.

“When I saw Sean was injured, I stayed calm, but I knew we had to get to work,” Susan Copeland said. “Sean’s injury shows just how important it is for athletic trainers to be on the scene. Athletic trainers know the athlete and how they operate, and therefore are more likely to notice things like shock.”

Sean, who made a return to the football field as a senior last fall, also knows how fortunate he was to have someone like Mauldin available at the time of his injury.

“If there is anything a high school football team needs, it’s an athletic trainer,” he said. “Had an athletic trainer not been there to send me to the emergency room, I would have lost my leg. If a trained professional is not present to identify and protect injured players, then the treatment they need at crucial moments will not be received.”

During Copeland’s extensive recovery, Mauldin was present to monitor his progress.

“Doc was at the hospital with us during surgery, and he was with us during recovery. Having someone invested in the player and the injury is another great aspect of the athletic training profession,” Susan Copeland said.

For Mauldin, knowing the player is the key to being an effective athletic trainer.

“Athletic trainers are with the players constantly, so we pick up on their personalities. Athletic trainers are a healthcare profession that are trained to recognize and evaluate injuries and I’m glad I picked up on the severity of Sean’s injury in time to treat it properly. Seeing him come back to play his senior year is the most rewarding part of being an athletic trainer.”

Original Article

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