By Greg Thompson
Sprains, strains, heat exhaustion and concussions are some injuries athletes sustain.
Six local students with interest in athletic training spent time in a classroom and on the sideline learning about these injuries and others related to sports health.
The Sports Medicine Department at Hardin Memorial Hospital hosted a three-day Athletic Training Student Summer Camp offering students — ranging from grades nine through 12 — the opportunity to see what the field is like.
Maria Backes, who has been an athletic trainer with HMH for two years, was one of the instructors at the camp, which ended Thursday.
“It’s an introductory course for high school students to learn a little bit more about sports medicine, specifically athletic training,” she said. “We get a lot of kids interested in sports medicine careers, whether it be an orthopedic physician, physician assistant or physical therapist.”
This is an opportunity for campers to be introduced to sports medicine in a condensed form and see what students majoring in that field of study will experience throughout their education, she said.
During camp, students received hands-on training in basic first aid, became CPR heart-saver certified, and learned injury evaluation, anatomy, symptoms of heat illness, its evaluation and treatment, concussion evaluation, splinting and spine-boarding.
Backes said she thinks, while the students are interested in sports medicine, they are unsure of what the role of an athletic trainer is, the variety of classes and other available opportunities.
“It’s something they can take with them and help them decide where they might want to go after high school,” she said.
After participating in the camp, some students are offered the opportunity, through the sports medicine program, to serve as aides in high schools. As aides, they are on the sidelines with HMH athletic trainers, assisting with first aid at high school athletic events and practices.
A lot of students that participate in the camp and seriously look at a sports health vocation are student-athletes, Backes said. The lessons learned during the three days gives those who have experienced sports-related injuries a better understanding of how and why the athletic trainer treated the injury.
Carol George, sports medicine supervisor at HMH, said the camp has been held every summer since 2006 after the inception of the sports medicine program.
“We love hosting this camp, as it gives us an opportunity to work one-on-one with students who may be interested in the field of athletic training,” she said. “We love introducing them to our profession and being a resource as they decide on a future college and career path.”
The sports medicine program consists of eight certified athletic trainers serving six high schools — Central, John and North Hardin and Elizabethtown, LaRue County and Meade County.
With this coverage, trainers are at the schools every day evaluating injured athletes and providing sports-related health care and coverage at practices and home games, George said. Trainers also travel with varsity football for any postseason competitions.
Athletic programs at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College also are covered by the sports medicine team at HMH and they also staff events and tournaments at Elizabethtown Sports Park.
Greg Thompson can be reached at 270-505-1762 or firstname.lastname@example.org.