A fascinating study presented in October 2012 to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) revealed some alarming statistics regarding injury rates and athletic trainers. The results revealed that overall injury rates were 1.73 times higher in soccer and 1.22 times higher in basketball in schools without athletic trainers. Also, recurrent injury rates were 5.7 times higher in soccer and 2.97 times higher in basketball in schools without athletic trainers. However, the most alarming statistic gleaned from this study discovered that concussion rates were 8.05 times higher in soccer and 4.5 times higher in basketball in schools with athletic trainers. These statistics would lead us to believe that overall injury rates and recurrent injury rates are higher in schools that do not have an athletic trainer present during athletic activities. In contrast, the discovery and assessment of suspected concussions weredramatically higher in schools with an athletic trainer present.
Due to the increased media attention over the last few years regarding concussions in sports – much needed light has illuminated information revolutionizing the way head injuries are managed – we feel the presence of certified Athletic Trainers is critical to the safety of our athletes.
Statistics have shown that the presence of an Athletic Trainer is critical in managing concussions due to the following reasons:
- An established trust relationship developed with the ATC increases the likelihood of self-reporting symptoms.
- Daily observation of behaviors increases the chances of recognizing subtle signs and symptoms.
- The Athletic Trainer is able to perform daily and ongoing follow-up examinations to determine recovery progression decisions.
St. Bernards Healthcare and Therapy Providers of Arkansas have collaborated to completely fund and provide certified Athletic Trainers (ATC) to area schools for over 15 years. Our team of Athletic Trainers are highly skilled medical professionals trained to recognize and manage various sports-related injuries and health emergencies. Currently our team of ATCs provide exclusive coverage to the following schools: Jonesboro, Nettleton, Valley View, Brookland, Westside, and Wynne
So far this season our ATCs have identified, assessed and managed over a dozen suspected or diagnosed concussions sustained during sports-related activities at our covered schools. We have established pre-season baseline testing to compare ongoing assessments which determine progression back to play according to the latest studies and the Arkansas Activities Association (AAA) Concussion Protocol. Currently, a few of these athletes have yet to return to play pending further evaluations or are being monitored as they progress through the protocols.
I am proud of our Athletic Trainers and the care they deliver to our area schools. They work endless hours, ride buses to away games, escort players to the emergency room, make phone calls and text messages to coordinate care and most of all love their athletes. If you see one of them, tell them thank you.
Amanda Salecki – Brookland
Chad Burke – Jonesboro
Katie Meyers – Nettleton
Cody Jones – Valley View
Octavia Robinson – Wynne
Zankhana Patel – Westside
For more information on concussions and management of symptoms visit: www.cdc.gov/headsup
Andy Shatley has been a physical therapist since January of 2005 and has been the Director of St. Bernards Sports Medicine since 2008. He is an APTA Board Certified Sports Clinical Specialist with a concentration in the rehabilitation of the overhead athlete. He graduated with his Bachelor of Biological Sciences at Arkansas State University and then went on to complete his Master of Physical Therapy as well.