Student Well-Being

Hospital Partnership Provides Trainers for School Sports

By Paul Minnis, The (Ind.) Republic — October 15, 2013 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Steve Souder thought he was saying goodbye forever to athletic training when he stepped down from that responsibility in 2007 to devote his time solely to teaching physical education at Taylorsville Elementary School.

But because of a new agreement between the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., in Columbus, Ind., and Columbus Regional Health, Mr. Souder has given up his teaching job to return to taping ankles and icing shoulders full time at Columbus North High School.

The two entities’ three-year contract, which took effect in July, will dispatch four athletic trainers to schools in the 11,300-student district. The arrangement resulted partly from increasing concern nationwide about concussions, said Bill Jensen, the district’s assistant superintendent of secondary education.

Previously, the hospital partnered with the school system and with Southern Indiana Orthopedics of Columbus to provide a trainer at North High School, but the district used its own funds to pay for a trainer at East High School.

The cost for four trainers would have been close to $40,000 this year, according to the district.

Heading Off Injuries

The National Athletic Trainers’ Association reports that only 42 percent of high schools have access to licensed athletic trainers.

High school athletes suffer about 2 million injuries each year, according to the Dallas-based Youth Sports Safety Alliance.

Sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of concussions among people ages 15 to 24, according to The American Journal of Sports Medicine.

The contract between the Bartholomew School Corp. and Columbus Regional makes the hospital the school system’s exclusive provider of sports medicine and athletic services. The program has benefits for the school district, athletes, taxpayers, and the hospital, officials say.

It puts two full-time athletic trainers apiece into Columbus North and East high schools at the hospital’s expense, doubling the number of trainers that the schools had previously. The contract also provides services to Central and Northside middle schools.

Student athletes work with trainers to reduce risks of injury and to treat injuries such as concussions, ankle sprains, and shoulder dislocations during sporting events. The trainers can also concentrate more on prevention and education, they said.

Columbus Regional gets an inside track on referrals when athletes need more extensive medical attention or rehabilitation at the hospital, said Linda DeClue, the school district’s assistant superintendent for human resources.

The athletic trainers attend games throughout the school year for all high school sports. For varsity football games, the hospital puts an ambulance on standby in case an athlete is badly injured.

The school system’s partnership with the hospital mirrors other such partnerships around the state, as well as similar arrangements between districts and health centers in Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Ohio, and other states.

Mr. Souder said he goes to North High School at about 2 p.m. each weekday to prepare for student athletes who need to get their ankles taped or have some other preliminary treatment before taking to the football field, the baseball diamond, or the basketball court.

Splitting Responsibilities

Mr. Souder and the other trainers visit the middle schools once a week, but then often work on those students at other times during the week when they stop by the high school, he said.

For the past seven years, trainer Kathleen Gratz had split her time at East High School between teaching physical education/health and training athletes. She said that left her only enough time in her training duties to cover some school sports.

Ms. Gratz used to attend all football games, all volleyball games, and varsity-only soccer games, for example, but now having twice the athletic trainers at East enables them also to cover school sports such as golf, baseball, softball, spring track, and tennis, she said.

Splitting responsibilities between two trainers at the school also gives them a better opportunity to educate athletes about nutrition, stretching muscles, and properly lifting weights, the trainers said.

And, students who come to trainers with those kinds of questions typically have suffered injuries or have noticed that a body part is getting sore and might become injured.

Related Tags:
Sports Health Partnerships

Contributing Writer Bryan Toporek contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2013 The Associated Press., AP Member Exchange.
A version of this article appeared in the October 16, 2013 edition of Education Week as Hospital Partnership Provides Trainers for School Sports

Events

Special Education Webinar Reading, Dyslexia, and Equity: Best Practices for Addressing a Threefold Challenge
Learn about proven strategies for instruction and intervention that support students with dyslexia.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Personalized Learning Webinar
No Time to Waste: Individualized Instruction Will Drive Change
Targeted support and intervention can boost student achievement. Join us to explore tutoring’s role in accelerating the turnaround. 
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools
Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Social-Emotional Learning: Making It Meaningful
Join us for this event with educators and experts on the damage the pandemic did to academic and social and emotional well-being.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being What the Research Says Teen Brains Aged Prematurely During the Pandemic. Schools Should Take Note
Researchers cite chronic stress during the pandemic for the phenomenon, which can affect mental health among youth.
3 min read
Cracked silhouette of a person holding their head with illuminated gears in place of the brain.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Student Well-Being Sports Coaches Want More Training on How to Address Young Athletes' Mental Health
A survey found that only 18 percent of coaches feel confident that they know how to connect their athletes to mental health supports.
4 min read
Physical Education teacher Amanda DeLaGarza instructs students how to stretch during 7th grade P.E. class at Cockrill Middle School on Nov. 9, 2016 in McKinney, Texas.
Schools in the United States earned a D-minus grade in 2022 in an international ranking from the Physical Activity Alliance for how well they facilitate access to physical activity for students. Research shows that physical activity, such as participation in sports, improves mental health.
Ting Shen/The Dallas Morning News via AP
Student Well-Being Opinion One Simple Thing You Can Do to Make Yourself Happier
A happiness and time researcher shares a simple hack to make experiences more pleasurable.
Cassie Holmes
1 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Getty
Student Well-Being Schools Are Not Identifying All Their Homeless Students. Why That Is Hurting the Kids
Hundreds of thousands of homeless students are not receiving the services they need, new report says.
3 min read
A young Black girl with her head down on a stack of books at her desk in a classroom
E+/Getty