Nov 12, 2015
Virginia District Pairs Middle Schools With Athletic Training Grad Students

Middle school athletes in Prince William County (Va.) are now being monitored by athletic trainers as part of a program that matches certified ATCs with nine middle schools throughout the county. The board-certified and state licensed ATCs are graduate students at George Mason University (GMU).

According to The Fairfax County Times, the university is providing ATCs to the middle schools as part of a project that is being funded through a $250,000 grant from the Potomac Health Foundation. In conjunction with providing medical coverage for the middle schools, the program is tracking injuries as part of a research project that may help determine best practices and risk factors.

Specifically, the information may make it easier to identify a high number of injuries coming from particular schools or certain sports. In turn, this will allow athletic trainers to determine whether there is an issue that needs to be addressed and to evaluate if changes lead to improved outcomes.

Along with collecting data, the project is providing GMU students with real-world experience, ranging from learning to work with the student-athletes to distinguishing types of injuries. Although the ATCs are receiving valuable experience, the program facilitates a win-win situation.

“It’s a great asset,” Supervisor of Prince William County’s Office of Student Learning told The Fairfax County Times. “It puts a level of care and expertise there for an underserved age group.”

Altogether, the ATCs work about 20 hours per week with their assigned school. The program runs throughout the school year and covers football, volleyball, boys’ soccer, track and field, and cheerleading.

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