Tag Archives: emergency management

The Athletic Trainer’s Role in Youth Sports

27 Mar

Wow, the month of February and March have been a flurry of activity for me.  I have been able to provide athletic training care to thousands of athletes at a youth soccer tournament, PIAA District Wrestling Championships, PIAA State Wrestling Championships, PA Junior Wrestling State Championships as well as my own athletes at my employer.  While providing these services to these groups, I was keenly aware of the amount of athletes who don’t get these services.

In an article on the Discovery Networks website, the author explores the possibility of “Smart Helmets” changing the future of youth sports.  The author quotes:

Identifying the injury is only the first step, the authors note. Smart helmets aren’t a diagnostic tool; rather, the technology could help make the connection between an athlete who may have an injury and a medical assessment. When a sensor is triggered, the athlete would need evaluation from a trained professional on-site or a referral for off-site medical evaluation.

This one paragraph clearly delineates our profession’s role in Youth Sports.  I am all for this smart technology that will clearly indicate when a possible concussive hit has been absorbed by an athlete of any age.  But a fancy LED display that indicates an excessive force is useless if their isn’t a medical professional there to clinically evaluate the athlete.  Youth football leagues need to provide athletic training services to these athletes.

Little Baseball is suffering a similar issue with pitch counts, curve ball debates and pitchers throwing with sore arms.  Pitch counts are a great tool, but they are limited in scope.  Many of the better players are playing on 2 or even 3 baseball teams at the same time.  Other youth baseball players are playing for 9 or 10 months of the year.  Research has shown that it isn’t the type of pitch that is thrown (i.e. curve ball), it is the volume of pitches that are thrown.  The volume of pitches thrown dramatically increase when you play for 2-3 teams a year.  Who is watching out for these young athletes?  Who can these young athletes approach to evaluate their arm pain without their parents making the first contact?

I firmly believe it is our profession of athletic training that can make a difference in these young athletes’ health and lives.  As my friend and colleague has in his email tagline “Every athlete deserves an athletic trainer.”  I wholeheartedly agree from ages 7 to 70 and up.  If you are involved in organized athletics, you not only deserve an athletic trainer; you need an athletic trainer.

Luxury or Necessity?

11 Jan

This morning, this article about a local to me high school caught my eye.  The title alone is thought provoking “Injury prompts Shanksville to reconsider athletic trainer.”  Somehow this school thought it prudent to cut $2,500 in spending and not provide basic athletic training services for the athletes of the school.  According to the PIAA, this school has an enrollment of 105 students in 9-12 grade and competes in 5 boys’ and 7 girls’ sports.  Basketball is the only contact sport listed, but in my experience baseball, softball, cross country, tennis and volleyball are all sports that keep the AT busy.

Today’s economy and lack of funding for public education has school districts, private schools and even public and private colleges and universities closely examining budgets.  The economic climate has administrations at every level attempting to answer the question “Is the provision of athletic training services a luxury that we provide our athletes or Continue reading

News – Budget cuts effecting health care for athletes!

3 Jun

Pittsburgh, PA – The Armstrong School District, like many other school districts in PA, is facing some hard choices – making budget cuts.  66 employees have been had their jobs eliminated including the 4 athletic trainers at the school district’s 4 high schools.

Four of the district’s athletic trainer positions were eliminated with a 5-4 vote by school board directors May 23. A total of 66 employees were furloughed for a year, although they won’t take effect until July 1. The school district’s budget is set to be finalized the day before.

Since athletic trainers belong to the Armstrong Education Association, they cannot be replaced by paid short-term fill-ins, so their workload likely will fall to coaches. Continue reading

Elite Runner suffers a spontaneous pnuemothorax – AT plays a key role

10 May

Minneapolis, MN

Rarely does a 40-minute jog turn into a medical crisis for an elite runner.  But on the afternoon of Sept. 3, 2010, it did.  Hassan Mead, recovering from an inflamed right Achilles’ tendon, stayed in Minneapolis to train while the Gophers cross-country team competed in Utah. The injury cost him the previous track season, and he was trying to make a comeback.  Early that Friday afternoon, Mead ran by himself from the Bierman Athletic Building to East River Road. As he ran along the Mississippi River, under the Lake Street bridge, he experienced a sudden sharp pain in his back.  He assumed it was a muscle cramp. But the pain increased until it virtually crippled him.  His right lung collapsed.   He needed help.

By the time of his fateful September workout, Mead was a seven-time Big Ten champion and six-time All-America.  “I have had [muscle cramps] before,” Mead said. “Out running you just get cramped up. Continue reading

Policy and Procedure Development – Lightning Safety

19 Apr

If you were to research lawsuits and investigations into sports injuries, the programs that have written protocols, policies and procedures fare the best.  Writing and following these plans protect the athletic program and employees.

One of the first things that ATs establish written protocols and policies covering everything from Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) with the school/team physician to communication between the coaches and AT staff. 

Lightning Safety Procedures

Lightning is an awesome display of the power of nature.  According to the National Weather Service, lightning and tornadoes are responsible for 57 deaths per year based on a 30 year average.  Lightning was also responsible for $6.6 billion of damages in 2009.  With high incidences of deaths, injuries and damage, it is important for school districts to develop a lightning safety protocol. Continue reading

Why Concussion Legislation is Needed

18 Apr

Many states across the country are in the process or have already passed legislation in the management of concussions.  With awareness of the injury rising and with pressure changing on athletes to no longer play with a concussion, you may ask yourself why this is needed.

This article out of San Diego, CA  illustrates what has been going of for years between knowledgable ATs and coaches all across the country.  Egotistical coaches whose desire to win outweighs their care for their athlete’s health make bad decisions.  Continue reading

Sudden Cardiac Death discussion and screening

7 Apr

I have had several conversations with local MDs about EKG screening for athletes.  Some of the questions we seek to answer is who will cover the costs?  Who will read all the tests?  Is the current testing even accurate in catching those at risk?  What about the psychological toll on the false negative screens?  (Imagine the feelings of the parents and young athletes who are told the EKG revealed an abnormality and need further work up when in fact their heart is fine.)

An article written by East Valley Tribune’s Lee Bowman looks into the possibility and need for EKG screening for athletes.

The shock of youthful, seemingly healthy athletes collapsing and dying from sudden cardiac arrest naturally makes athletic trainers, coaches, sports physicians and parents want to do all they can to prevent it. Continue reading

Athletic Trainers – a well oiled machine

24 Mar

The NHL Montreal Canadiens’ medical staff was put to the test in early March, 2011.
It was two weeks ago Tuesday night that Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty was laying face down in front of his team’s bench, unconscious.

Unknown at that moment was that the 22-year-old had suffered a non-displaced fracture of his C4 vertebra and a severe concussion, the result of being driven into a thinly padded, glass-supporting stanchion at the end of the visitors’ bench by Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.

The sickening c Continue reading

AT Skill Set – Policy/Procedure Development

22 Mar

If you were to research lawsuits and investigations into sports injuries, the programs that have written protocols, policies and procedures fare the best.  Writing and following these plans protect the athletic program and employees.

One of the first things that ATs establish written protocols and policies covering everything from Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) with the school/team physician to communication between the coaches and AT staff.  Continue reading

Athletic Trainer not allowed to be at practice and death ensues.

19 Mar

Orlando, FL – The death of University of Central Florida football player Ereck Plancher in the off-season of 2008 is still under investigation.  Ereck died from an extremely strenuous obstacle course after a workout.  The strain of the workout and then the obstacle course triggered his blood cells to sickle and the resulting cascade of events eventually causing his death according to the autopsy results.

What is at issue in this case is the reported lack of water and medical help available to the practice. Continue reading