Nov 21, 2017
Professional Treatment

Fans of North Dickinson County School in Felch, Mich., and Niagara (Wisc.) High School might see a familiar face on the sidelines when watching NFL games. Jon Jungwirth, MS, LAT, ATC, PES, is an athletic trainer at these high schools but spends some Sundays offering his sports medicine services to the Cincinnati Bengals, as well.

As told to The Daily News, Jungwirth’s relationship with the Bengals began when he met the team’s Head Athletic Trainer Paul Sparling, MEd, ATC, at the 2008 NATA Convention in St. Louis. From there, Sparling asked Jungwirth to join his athletic training staff when the Bengals traveled to face off against their NFC North opponents.

Since then, Jungwirth has taken care of the players at almost every NFC North stadium. The partnership is a win-win for both Jungwirth and the team. For one thing, it means the Bengals have one less person to worry about on their travel staff, and they do not have to stress if an athletic trainer is unable to attend a game.

“It’s just another set of hands in the locker room, in the training room, and on the field,” said Jungwirth.

On Jungwirth’s end, he’s been exposed to some unique treatment methods that he’s taken back to his work with high school athletes.

“Obviously it’s an extremely high-level athlete. It’s the big show – You just kind of take away and watch how they treat different injuries,” he said. “The interesting thing is injuries are the same thing whether it’s a professional athlete or high school athlete. I just try to apply some of the techniques. They have some exposure to newer gadgets and some of that stuff.”

Much of what Jungwirth has learned came from watching how Sparling tapes various joints and the kind of tape that he uses for each one.

“There’s different taping techniques [and] different types of tape for different applications or locations on the body,” Jungwirth said. “You want to have some strength with this tape, but you don’t want to cut off circulation – I never thought of taping a joint that way with that kind of tape.”

The main difference for Jungwirth between working with the Bengals and high school athletes doesn’t come in the form of injury prevention or treatment, but instead with the attention the NFL players receive. That doesn’t mean Jungwirth has been star-struck by the experience, though.

“I think the biggest thing that we see is how these people are high-profile, and they’re looked up upon and made big stories of. But what it all boils down to is, they’re people,” he said. “You can relate to them – They’re just extremely talented at throwing the football or they’re big and strong — blocking and catching a pass. They’re blessed with certain abilities and talents that we don’t have.”

Overall, Jungwirth has enjoyed his time spent with the Bengals, and he looks forward to many more Sundays on the sidelines.

“Coming out of that tunnel, just as a person helping that team, is an adrenaline rush,” he said. “It’s a thing you’re blessed to have an opportunity to have done.”

Image by Keith Allison

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