Trainers Treat Injuries, Provide Guidance on Workouts
Most people are surprised to hear their local high school has a licensed athletic trainer. They wonder what we do and who we work with. Most high schools partner with a local healthcare provider to deliver training services to student athletes to help them avoid injuries and help those who are injured.
When people hear the word “trainer,” they usually think of someone at the local fitness center who helps members develop a workout plan to lose weight or build strength. Licensed athletic trainers (LATs) are highly qualified healthcare professionals who work with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.
I am an employee with ThedaCare Orthopedic Care, but work with students at Princeton High School and Green Lake High School. Like other LATs who work at area schools, I attend different sporting activities and will tend to any athlete who may be injured. Yes, I treat players from an opposing team if the other school does not have its own staff onsite. If a player falls to the ground during a football game and has trouble getting up, for example, I go out to him with a coach. I do a quick assessment and then help the player to the sideline. If it appears the athlete has an injury to the neck or head or a serious injury elsewhere, we take extra precautions to move him, including sometimes calling an ambulance.
Once back on the sideline, I check the athlete’s injury and provide treatment, such as applying ice or taping an ankle. I talk with the coaches about whether the player should retake the field. If an athlete takes a hit to the head, I conduct a concussion assessment. If I suspect a concussion, the athlete is sidelined until he can be evaluated further. Student safety is my top priority.
LATs also work with athletes at their high schools, whether it is evaluating someone complaining of a sore ankle after a game or practice or working with coaches to develop training programs that focus on building strength and endurance. LATs also work with schools on their summer agility and speed programs or other summer workouts. I want to make sure students are doing workouts correctly so they are not setting themselves up for an injury. For example, if students participate in a strength training program, I make sure they use proper form when lifting weights and do not lift too much. I also talk with students about how to fuel their body by following a balanced diet and that they drink plenty of water.
LATs are a resource to student athletes who not only provide treatment or answer questions, but can also work with their healthcare provider if more intensive treatment is necessary. I enjoy helping local student athletes get back on the field or court and providing them with information to stay healthy so they can keep playing.
Alyssa Tessaro is a licensed athletic trainer with ThedaCare Orthopedic Care and provides services to students at Princeton High School and Green Lake High School.