Monday, August 16, 2010

One hand up - way up - for trainers on the sidelines


This story, unfortunately, will be repeated a dozen times during pre-season high school football workouts. Brandon Burkes, a promising linebacker in Greensboro, N.C., cracked helmets with a teammate in practice and broke his neck in two places. This one ends happily. Thanks to a quick medical response, Brandon suffered no paralysis. His football-playing days are over, though.

The story raises two important questions: Should certified athletic trainers be present for all high school football workouts and games? (Check the video, it does a decent job talking about it). Second, should heart-function exams (ECGs) be mandatory for all high school athletes?

The answers are yes and yes. Yet in most states, neither is required. Not to say that a trainer or sports doc will be missing from sidelines at the neighborhood gridiron this fall. In my hometown, and maybe yours, trainers and docs in the big sports medicine practices voluntarily attend high school games. Not all. But as many as they can handle. It's a good business development thing - a way for a sports doc to get face time with future patients. But mostly it's a neighborly thing. Many of these folks truly do enjoy putting young athletes with wrenched backs and twisted knees back together.

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