FARMINGTON – Immediately following a sports injury, certified athletic trainers (ATCs) are among those who can provide the most thorough injury assessment of what needs to happen next to reduce the long-term effects of an injury. What type of medical care is necessary? How soon can play or physical activities be resumed? What corrective techniques or exercises are best?
ATCs are unique health professionals who are experts in injury prevention, assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation, particularly in the orthopedic and musculoskeletal disciplines. They are often the first to respond to an injury.
This month, Franklin Memorial Hospital’s ATCs are celebrating National Athletic Training Month. They include Jeremy Starbird, ATC, and Gina DiCrocco, MEd, ATC.
“National Athletic Training Month was established so that we could do a better job of educating the public about our profession and our quality and level of care,” said DiCrocco. “We want people to know that athletic trainers are integral members of the medical or athletic health care team and work hand-in-hand with physicians and other health personnel.”
DiCrocco provides her expertise to athletes at Mt. Blue and Livermore Falls high schools, while Starbird works with Mt. Abram and Jay high school athletes. Each provides game and practice coverage, which enables them to provide immediate medical attention when an athlete is injured, as well as a role in the rehabilitation and decision-making associated with the athlete’s care. ATCs also provide guidance and assistance to coaches during preseason conditioning and throughout the season.
During the weekly Sports Medicine Clinic one of the athletic trainers is there along with Dr. Nancy Cummings and a physical therapist, to round out the health care team that evaluates and treats high school, college, and recreational athletes. The clinic takes place every Monday from 8-10 a.m. at Franklin Health Orthopaedics.
During the course of a school year, DiCrocco and Starbird collectively provide about 1,300 treatments for athletes who have been injured or are experiencing pain. They manage the care of injuries such as ankle sprains, concussions, knee injuries, and fractures while coordinating treatments with the rest of the health care team (primary care physicians, emergency department providers, physical therapists, and specialists such as orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, chiropractors, and nutritionists).
In closing, the ATCs said that injury rates could be reduced if athletes took appropriate preventative action, such as: wearing appropriate protective gear, equipment, and footwear; doing a proper warm up before exercise; and following a regular conditioning program during the off-season.