Nov 3, 2016AT Community Rallies After Flood
This article first appeared in the November 2016 issue of Training & Conditioning.
Over the course of 24 hours in late June, thunderstorms dumped 10 inches of torrential rain across West Virginia, resulting in catastrophic flooding. Herbert Hoover High School, Clay County High School, and Richwood High School were each hit hard, and all of their athletic training supplies and equipment were destroyed.
That didn’t sit well with Steve Lough, ATC, Head Athletic Trainer and Athletic Director at nearby Ripley (W.Va.) High School. “Stephanie [Clark, MS, ATC, Athletic Trainer at Herbert Hoover] called and told me her program had lost everything,” says Lough, winner of the 2012 West Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association’s (WVATA) Athletic Trainer of the Year award, which acknowledges community service. “I knew the athletic training community needed to do something.”
Lough got on the phone and started asking for help. He was able to secure equipment donations from local medical centers, including a training table, coolers, gloves, and other materials. These were distributed to the Herbert Hoover, Clay County, and Richwood athletic training programs.
Then, he reached out to his current and former athletic training student aides, asking them to pitch in. Before long, they organized a car wash that raised $500. The money was split between the three schools.
“We were able to give the $500 directly to the athletic trainers to use as they saw fit,” Lough explains. “I wanted to help them replace their own special supplies that were lost. Sports medicine programs here in West Virginia often have tight budgets, so athletic trainers end up buying a lot themselves-like a medical bag, fanny pack, or unique pair of scissors. These more personal things are what you miss the most, so we wanted to make sure they got them back.”
Beyond Lough, other members of the athletic training community stepped forward, too. The WVATA and the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission both sent aid, and Clark received a fully stocked medical bag from an athletic trainer in Indiana.
Although the flood’s effects are still being felt, the donated supplies allowed the Herbert Hoover, Clay County, and Richwood athletic trainers to take care of athletes once fall sports started. Lough is glad he and his students were able to be a part of it. “Sometimes, athletic trainers can feel like unsung heroes, but we’re not alone,” he says. “This is a great community to be in, and it’s important for us to stick together. Whenever we have the ability to help another athletic training program, that is what we should do.”