News – He is the injured athlete’s go to guy

28 Oct

Raleigh, NC – Burgetta Eplin Wheeler of th News Observer in North Carolina wrote an article about the work of Aaron Minger, AT at Boughton HS.  This isn’t a fluff piece of reporting touting the service Aaron provides to the athletes, this is an in depth article focusing primarily at the money he saves the parent’s of the school district.

Hours after the school day has ended, Aaron Minger, Broughton High’s athletic trainer, is idling in a golf cart in the middle of the football practice field, easily accessible to all 120 players. Not 60 seconds after mentioning he’s always on call for other sports, Minger picks up his ringing phone.

It’s the women’s tennis coach, and a player is down.

Immediately, Minger pushes the cart toward the courts as fast as it will go as tennis players, shouting and pointing, run toward him. At the gate, he grabs two 20-pound bags of first-aid equipment and takes off at full sprint.

 The tennis player’s knee injury isn’t serious, but someone has called 911. Minger is able to wave off the EMS workers, saving the girl and her parents an expensive ambulance trip to the ER.

Athletic trainers, in fact, routinely save far more money in health care costs than it takes to pay for their positions.

It’s an important point with lawmakers likely to debate again whether it’s worth $21 million a year to require nationally certified athletic trainers in all of the state’s 390 high schools. About 40 percent of the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s members currently have trainers.

To quantify the value of athletic trainers, John Shepard, the trainer at Panther Creek High School in Cary, looked at his interactions with student-athletes over the 2010-2011 school year. If you extrapolate his findings to Wake County’s 20 traditional high schools, he found that [athletic]  trainers saved parents more than $4 million in physical therapy costs alone.

That doesn’t count the estimated $1.4 million parents saved in other insurance co-pays.

And it doesn’t count what [athletic] trainers give parents, coaches and principals in peace of mind.

The great thing about this type of article is that it elevates and promotes the profession in North Carolina.  According toMom’s Team .com, North Carolina legislature has introduced a bill to provide funding for all high schools to provide athletic training services to their athletes.

It’s difficult to think of having an athletic trainer at every high school as a luxury and not a necessity, especially when it’s clear a trainer earns every dollar and ultimately saves some, too.

And the responsibility on them – sometimes life-and-death decisions on whether it’s just too hot to keep practicing on those sultry August days – just keeps increasing.

“Any culpability would probably fall on me,” Minger said with a laugh. “That’s why coaches want me around.”

With that responsibility comes autonomy.

“I don’t feel like my job’s riding on whether the star athlete gets back out there,” Minger said. “I’m not hired by the football coach. I’m hired by Wake County schools.

“I get to make sure the kids are taken care of before we look at wins and losses.”

As is the theme of this blog, athletic trainers are a necessity and not a luxury.  In today’s society with the continual elevation of sports participation, it is should not be just a necessity but a legal requirement with appropriate educational funding.
Sports participation at the high school level is an extension of the education of the student athletes.  Athletes are usually held to a much higher standard academically and socially (drug testing, discipline, etc.).  Athletic participation has also grown over the years and millions of athletes are injured each year.  These student athletes should have access to an athletic trainer but sadly so many don’t.
If you read the rest of the article, you may notice that the writer is not just writing about some AT, she is writing about the AT for her son’s high school.  She is writing about her personal experiences with the AT.  This AT is held in very high esteem by the author for his expertise and professionalism.

One Response to “News – He is the injured athlete’s go to guy”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. News – Follow up to October 31 « promotetheprofession - November 4, 2011

    […] Nov In late October I wrote this blog entry entitled “He is the injured athletes go to guy.”  The news article highlighted in the […]

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