Retaining Athletic Trainers

January 18, 2018

Last year, Mesa County Valley School District 51 in Grand Junction, Colo., was told that its sports medicine coverage would be discontinued as a result of budget restrictions at a local health center. At the time, there were two athletic trainers serving the district’s four high schools.

An article from The Grand Junction Sentinel explains that the athletic trainers’ services were provided to the school through nearby St. Mary’s Medical Center. After hearing about the impending budget cuts, Paul Cain, MS, Athletic Director for School District 51, started a fundraising campaign to keep the athletic trainers employed. 

“There’s a lot of value in what we have here,” Cain said. “These [athletic] trainers impact so many lives, and it’s not just athletes. They’re going into classrooms, working with kids on fitness programs and even kids who simply want to lose weight. It’s something that needs support because it affects more than just athletes.”

Cain’s campaign targeted the area’s medical centers for funds. By the end, the district had raised $100,000, which covered the cost of extending the sports medicine program and has allowed the athletic trainers to be hired as full-time district employees. A third athletic trainer was also hired.

“Ideally, we’d like to have [an athletic] trainer at every high school,” Cain said. “But looking at this now compared to where we were a year ago, we’re definitely making the right kind of progress.”

The two athletic trainers who had been working with the district’s high schools previously had to split up their time. Now, they are able to cover more sports, as well as marching band.

“When we were at St. Mary’s, we were limited to 40 hours per week,” Noah Larsen, ATC, Athletic Trainer for School District 51, said. “So including the time we had to spend at the hospital, that left us only 15 hours per week to work at each school. You learn to do a lot of things quickly when you don’t have a lot of time.”

Larsen had covered two of School District 51’s high schools and Erin Glavan, ATC, covered the other two. Now that a third athletic trainer has been hired at one of the schools, Glavan and Larsen split time between the remaining three high schools.

“Last year at this point was, well, a little worrisome,” Larsen said. “Erin and I love what we do, and we love being around these kids. This is a service they really need.”

Cain is pleased that his fundraising efforts were successful and that his district can continue to provide sports medicine coverage to athletes.

“It was nice to see that our superintendent saw a value in this,” he said. “In the long term, this is something that affects all students, and our district is better off.” 


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