Jan 29, 2015
News From The Field

By R.J. Anderson

Spending most of their time working behind the scenes, athletic trainers rarely receive the kind of recognition their work deserves. When they do make headlines, we like to spread the word with a selection of links to articles profiling athletic trainers and sports medicine education programs.
After a state medical examiner determined that the cause of death for J.H. Rose High School football player JaQuan Waller was second impact syndrome, the school district has accepted responsibility for its actions during the player’s course of care.

Waller, 16, first suffered a concussion following a hit during practice on Sept. 17. After being examined by a first responder employed by J.H. Rose, Waller was allowed to play in a game two days later, where he suffered another concussion and collapsed, ultimately leading to his death. Waller died the next day, on Sept. 20.

Admitting fault in the incident, Pitt County (N.C.) Schools Superintendent Beverly Reep says the school system plans to pursue “creative and cost-effective efforts” to employ licensed athletic trainers at each of its six high schools. Currently, only one school in the district has an athletic trainer on staff.

Reep told The Daily Reflector that district-wide protocols regarding head injuries and dehydration will be “completed, approved and communicated broadly to all athletic staff, students and parents.” Those guidelines are expect to be ready in the next 60 days, she said.

“I don’t have the power to determine what the outcome could have been here, and I don’t want to be in that position,” Reep said when asked if the death could have been prevented. “I hope you all will understand, and our community will understand that, by being honest and forthcoming in the findings and statements that we’ve made today, that we do believe we could have made better decisions and had better protocol in place.

“My hope is that, in the future, we do not do anything to compromise the safety of a youngster in our care and this tragedy leads to as stringent of protocol as we can have for caring for our youngsters.”

For Hillcrest High School Athletic Trainer Brenda Sneed, athlete familiarity helped her blow the whistle when she determined a football player was faking his way through a post-concussion screening exam. The Springfield, Mo., News-Leader reported that because Sneed had known quarterback Mitchell Jenkins since he was a kindergarten student, she was able to tell he was lying during the exam.

“He told me he was fine, but we started talking about things, and he mentioned he didn’t remember the first half,” Sneed said. “So, I said, ‘Mitchell, I think you’re lying to me.’ And he just gave me a big grin.”

After determining that Jenkins had a concussion, Sneed pulled him from the game and took his helmet.

“They can’t go in without a helmet,” Sneed said. “And sometimes, in the rush of things, I may tell one coach but not another, and he may tell the kid to go in. You want to make sure they can’t go in, so I take their helmet and put it with my stuff.”

Since Jenkins never lost consciousness but his symptoms lasted for more than 15 minutes, Jenkins was diagnosed with a Grade II concussion. A CAT scan at the hospital after the game confirmed the diagnosis. He was held out of the next week’s game.

After seven years as Head Athletic Trainer at Central Washington University, Ken Kladnik, has resigned to become the Director of Rehabilitation Services at Kittitas Valley Community Hospital in Ellensburg, Wash. Assistant Athletic Trainer and Senior Women’s Administrator Kari Gage will take over day-to-day operations of the athletic training room at CWU.

Kladnik was a 1994 inductee into the Central Washington University Athletics Hall of Fame, a 2002 inductee into the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Hall of Fame, and received the NATA’s Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award in 1997.

“We are very sorry to see an individual of Ken’s caliber leave our department,” Central Washington Director of Athletics Jack Bishop told the Daily Record News. “Ken has meant a lot to the athletic department and the Central Washington University community, and we wish him only the best in his future professional endeavors.”

A hearty applause goes to out to student athletic trainers at Paso Robles (Calif.) High School for their efforts in raising money for breast cancer research throughout the month of October. Last year, the students raised $1,400 and this year the goal is to raise more than $2,000.

“Everyone is so willing to participate, and it brings us together more,” Paso Robles senior Kelley Burdette told the Paso Robales Press. “It’s good to know we’re helping people. I think it shows that our group isn’t just about athletic training; we want to go out and help the community as well.”

University of Vermont Assistant Athletic Trainer Jim Murdock was recently featured on local TV news broadcast for his work at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, where he was the athletic trainer for the United States Wheelchair Rugby Team. Murdock has been the athletic trainer for the U.S. squad since 2004 and Beijing was his second Paralympic experience. Murdock is in his 12th year as an athletic trainer at Vermont and works primarily with the baseball and women’s swimming and diving teams.

In this article, the University of West Florida Voyager profiles the school’s athletic training program. West Florida recently made headlines after partnering with Dr. James Andrews and the Andrews Institute to help enhance the school’s Department of Health, Leisure, and Exercise Science. Click here to read T&C.com’s take on the new alliance.

Here, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point student newspaper, The Pointer, profiles the school’s athletic training program. There are only 32 students accepted into the program each year because it is an accredited program, though there are roughly 90 pre-Athletic Training majors on campus.

“We have had 100 percent placement of our gradates in athletic training related positions in the last five years. …” said Holly Schmies, the Athletic Training Program Director. “The way an athletic trainer looks at their job is, it’s not necessarily the prestige of the job, its really taking ownership in your patients and wanting to get them better.”

This article provides a behind-the-scenes look at the Ithaca College athletic training program. As part of the athletic training curriculum, students begin working with sports teams during the first semester of their sophomore year, starting with rotations that span only a few weeks and working up to spending an entire season with one team.

“When you’re involved with a team, you’re part of the team,” junior Caitlin McFadden, an athletic training major working with the football team, told The Ithacan. “The players know you, the players have confidence in you.”

R.J. Anderson is an Assistant Editor at
Training & Conditioning. Have a link to a story you’d like to see included in a future blog? E-mail us at [email protected].

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