A serious void
Season after season I ask myself the same question at some point. Where are the trainers?
Injures are an unfortunate part of all high school athletics and rarely do I see someone on the field capable of dealing with a serious injury.
Just this past week I saw a baseball player foul a fastball off of his face. This player crumbled to the ground kicking his feet in pain. The coaches were the first by his side, but all they could really do was ask him if he was okay.
The player came to his feet with a face and mouth full of blood. He left the field and went to the hospital for stitches.
As horrible as the injury looked and sounded, that is a manageable injury for your everyday trainer that every school is required to have during football season. All you can really do is try to stop the bleeding. No one expects someone to stitch a wound in the dugout.
However, what happens when a more serious injury occurs? What will happen when outfielders collide when trying to chase down a fly ball and one of them can't feel their toes? What happens when a soccer player takes a kick to the head and forgets who they are or where they are?
Now I know we all love our baseball and soccer coaches, but they probably aren't the most qualified to deal with head trauma or spinal injuries. Sometimes a bag of ice, a bandage and some tape isn't enough.
The previously mentioned scenarios are rare, but they do happen. And I'm afraid that in Rutherford County, where no high school has athletic training programs, when those events do happen we won't be prepared. Sometimes we can't wait for an ambulance to make it to the field before an athlete requires attention.
During football season there is always an ambulance onsite and every team has a certified trainer on the sideline. And during basketball season every high school seems to have a trainer present. But during other sports the coaches and players are on their own.
Simply put, that shouldn't be acceptable.
With that said, Rutherford County high schools need to make an effort to start athletic training programs where students can learn how to deal with sports-related injuries.
The students in the program can be assigned to secondary sports where licensed trainers aren't required to be present — even though it should be required for every sport, in my opinion.
If the program is taken seriously where the students learn more than how to just tape a twisted ankle, it could be invaluable to an athletic program.
My high school offered a similar program that was widely popular among students. After school, athletes from every sport could come to the athletic training room and receive basic treatment from athletic training students. Not only were the students learning and practicing, but dozens of athletes were helped each day whether it be a sprained wrist, shin splints or tendonitis. There wasn't a waiting list to see the one guy in the building who knew how to manage your injury.
Not to mention, sports medicine and kinesiology are two of the fastest-growing careers in the country with salaries rising each year (they make plenty more than I do). Why not train students for important, growing careers while benefiting your entire athletic program and its participants? Let's take care of our kids in every way possible.
It seems like a no-brainer to me, and I haven't been hit in the head recently.