If a student-athlete was injured during a high school sporting event at Medora or Trinity Lutheran, he or she was taken out of the game to be assessed by a coach, turned over to parents and taken to the hospital that night or to a doctor the next day.
But after a recent contract service agreement with Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, a certified athletics trainer will be on hand to check on the athletes, give them advice on how to treat the injury and help them receive any further medical care.
Trustees from the two Jackson County schools recently approved contract agreements, which run Aug. 1 to July 31, 2016. Seymour and Brownstown Central high schools have been using the free service for the past two school years.
Schneck officials also have discussed the service with officials from Crothersville High School, and school trustees will vote on that during their July 13 meeting.
“It is a way to extend Schneck services out in the community,” said Holly Wischmeier, the hospital’s director of rehabilitation services. “It just helps people get acclimated to the services that we provide at Schneck. It opens up the doors to those student-athletes and their families to Schneck.”
Wischmeier said Schneck also will be providing athletics trainers for Jennings County High School, and there are three other schools pending approval.
According to the contract, the schools have to provide space in which to treat athletes and supplies necessary for treatment of athletes within the confines of the appropriate athletics budget; hang Schneck banners at indoor and outdoor athletics facilities and near the training room; and place Schneck advertisements and logo in sports programs and at host tournaments.
Kyle Coates and Kelli Hacker have been trainers for Seymour and Brownstown the past couple of years, and Wischmeier said she hopes to have at least three trainers to rotate among the Jackson County schools and Jennings County. Schneck is currently going through applications and conducting interviews.
Medora Superintendent Roger Bane and Athletics Director Brad McCammon both said having an athletics trainer available at some home games will be a positive.
“It’s greatly appreciated,” Bane said. “I think it’s a great partnership with them, and I know I appreciate it because as of right now, we do not have an athletics trainer. At times, we need someone.”
McCammon also serves as the girls basketball coach, and he has had athletes, including his daughter this past season, suffer injuries during a game.
He said he took a couple of athletics training classes in college, so in the event of an athlete getting injured, he has been able to assess the situation to determine if the person can be moved. He also has consulted with parents and encouraged them to take the athlete to see a physician.
“We try to err on the side of caution,” he said.
Now that a professional trainer knowledgeable in sports medicine will be on site, that will be a benefit, McCammon said.
“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “Any time the hospital reaches out to you and offers it free, you’d be silly not to take advantage of it.”
Trinity athletics director Aaron Rudzinski said Schneck provided a trainer for most home football games in the 2014 season. But with this new agreement, trainers also will be at home games in other sports when they are available.
“I think the biggest thing is just having a medical professional that can help diagnose concussions,” Rudzinski said. “Our coaches get some education on that, but I think the most important thing is having (the trainers) in case something major happens.”
Seymour High School athletics director Brandon Harpe said it has been nice to have trainers from Schneck available the past couple of years. George Potter was a school staff member who served as the trainer before they came on board, but he moved on to a job at another school.
“He was really good at communicating with parents, and I was worried we might lose that component,” Harpe said. “But we’ve had Kyle Coates and Kelli Hacker, and both have been really good with continuing to communicate with parents.”
Harpe said the trainers are professional and “go the extra mile” by using the resources of the hospital to get athletes in to see a doctor without having to wait.
“It has gone really well,” he said.
Cheryl Nehrt, athletics director at Crothersville High School, said she hopes to see the school board approve the service.
In the past, when an athlete has been injured during a game, he or she has been sent to the emergency room.
“It’s a great opportunity for a small school like us,” she said. “It’s always a good idea to have a trained medical professional at athletic events. We do all we can to keep the kids safe, but accidents can happen. It (would be) nice to be able to evaluate the athletes right on site.”