Lansdowne, VA (March 28, 2015) – March is National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA) Athletic Trainers Month and those who participate or support Loudoun County Interscholastic Athletics should thank their certified athletic trainer (ATC) for keeping their athletes safe. An ATC is a medical professional who is responsible for treating the athlete for sports-related injuries. ATCs are board certified and hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. They hold a state license and are trained to provide emergency care of the athlete, evaluation and treatment of sports injuries, rehabilitation, and prevention of re-injury. The traditional athletic training setting has been in the high school and college or professional sport setting but more recently in hospital, orthopaedic clinics, physical therapy clinics, and industrial medicine. Loudoun County Public Schools and many of our private schools employ one ATC per high school for coverage of athletic practices and competitions. Over 70 % of Virginia schools have certified athletic trainers, making it one of the most covered states across the nation.
David C. Johnson, MD, Fellowship Trained Orthopaedic Surgeon and Founder of NSMI has provided sports medicine coverage for the majority of Loudoun County athletic teams since 2006. He can be found on the football field on Friday night providing high level sports medicine care to Loudoun County athletes. Dr. Johnson states that “certified athletic trainers are invaluable part of our treatment team. We communicate frequently with certified athletic trainers and often rely on their expertise to manage a multitude of health related issues for the athlete. Often they are the first line of skilled sports medical care experienced at our local school system and community leagues. They are also commonly a first line of continual care when an athlete returns to play beyond our office and physical therapy settings. Their community presence and commitment to the care of our athletes cannot be understated.”
Lee Ann Skinner, ATC, a former ATC for Heritage High School believes the heart of a high school sports medicine program involves Emergency Action Plans between coaches and administrators, CPR and first aid certification of coaches by the ATC, and medical alert communications of all athletes “ATCs provide preventative care that involves field and weather safety, off season training prescriptions, pre-season injury prevention education, and rehabilitation programs. Covering events is a crucial part of an ATCs job, but having a sports medicine team with team physicians and orthopaedic surgery practice behind the event is essential,” says Skinner.
TJ Hegerich, MD provides medical coverage for the Woodgrove High School teams and works closely with Paul Peterson, the WHS athletic trainer. He states “Having a full time, dedicated athletic trainer is such an asset for our school system. From promoting health and prevention, to treating injuries, our athletic trainers clearly make our schools safer places. Any parent who has a student athlete should be quite thankful for our county’s group of experienced trainers.”
Unfortunately, most youth leagues/clubs do not have medical coverage of an athletic trainer. NSMI has partnered with George Mason University Athletic Training Education Program to provide coverage of some local youth football leagues with graduate level certified athletic trainers.
NSMI also utilizes ATCS in the orthopaedic clinic setting as Physician Extenders who assist in the office with history, physical exam, brace/cast fitting, rehabilitation exercises, and patient education. They are also active in research and coverage of local sport events such as Loudoun Soccer tournaments and showcases. As a certified athletic trainer herself and now a Physician Assistant, Polly Porter from NSMI knows just how valuable the skills of an athletic trainer are. “The ATC knowledge base of human anatomy and orthopaedic examination makes them a valuable part of the sports medicine team”.
The Loudoun County Athletic Trainers have worked hard to design a website for parents, coaches and athletes to provide information for injuries, forms for Pre-Participation Physicals, and education on concussion policies for the athletes. Visit the website at http://lcps.org/athletictraining
Written by Polly A. Porter, PA-C, ATC