Athletes are passionate and aggressive, but with success also comes a safety risk. RG3, a Redskins quarterback, has encountered multiple injuries on the field where a trained medical professional was able to immediately be of service. Same with Kevin Durant, a basketball player for Oklahoma City, who had unfortunately suffered numerous injuries but had an athletic trainer on the sidelines to give quick, direct help every time. These athletic trainers may very well be the reason the two athletes were able to return to their sport.
Similarly, student athletes participate in games and practices where they could easily injure themselves. However, if a student athlete gets hurt, there is no licensed healthcare professional to provide assistance.
Administering a comprehensive athletic program includes hiring athletic trainers for the safety of the students. For this exact purpose, recently, Montgomery County has launched a pilot program.
The athletic trainers program was established to protect student athletes in the 25 MCPS high schools. According to the MCPS website, it will cost 239,000 dollars for the 2014-2015 year to hire 25 athletic trainers, who on average work 30 hours a week in all of the county’s high schools. The current fiscal budget for Montgomery County is 2.4 billion dollars, and although less than a quarter of a million seems like only a bite of the budget- the athletic trainers do make a difference when the county is constantly striving to be the best in the nation.
While parents have empathy for the fiscal challenges MCPS is confronting, Bryan Ashby, the supervisor of Wicomico County Athletics says, “there is no way the parents would even let us go back to a contractual model. Those people [the athletic trainers] are like members of the community now.” Since it does come down to the budget, the future is a bit unclear for this recent addition to the programs in MCPS.
To the north of Montgomery, Washington County Public Schools are also facing similar issues and setting similar goals. Erich Michael, the county athletic supervisor said, “we just feel that if we have the money to put in the budget to make sure our students are safe, that’s what we’re going to do.”
In the United States, high school athletes suffer from over 2 million concussions and the less MCPS can contribute to that number, the better. Athletic trainers have a lot to offer to the dynamics of sports in today’s society. “We’re coaches, not doctors, it’s not our job to assess an injury and make a decision on I,” Quince Orchard football coach John Kelley said.
Grey Herbert, the coach of the Whitman girls’ soccer team, agrees with the need for athletic trainers, “I’ve seen a drop in injury rates for sure, there’s an open dialogue between the girls and our trainer, they trust her. She gives them advice, she educates the players. . . It’s been a huge benefit for us [to have a trainer].”
Article by the MoCo Student Staff Writer Shylee Yachin of Richard Montgomery High School