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News Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Athletic trainers: Experts in injury prevention and treatment

By Brianna Santiago, MBA, LATC, sports health and medicine coordinator

The Sports Health and Medicine Program at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Springfield unites the expertise of physicians, surgeons, therapists and athletic trainers to care for children and adolescents with sports injuries. The athletic trainers are on the front lines of preventing, diagnosing and treating injuries related to physical activity.

Range of responsibilities

The athletic trainers in the Sports Health and Medicine Program play a unique and important role, both on and off the field, serving children under age 18, of all skill levels, in a variety of settings. In addition to athletic training services, our staff trainers are responsible for providing educational and community outreach activities for schools and recreational and club sports teams.

The Springfield Shriners Hospital's athletic trainers are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of acute and chronic sports injuries, including strains and sprains, tendonitis, neck and back pain, shoulder and arm pain, hip and knee pain, torn knee ligaments, meniscal tears, shin splints and fractures.

Sports Health and Medicine physician, Julio Martinez-Silvestrini, M.D., holds a monthly Sports Health and Medicine Clinic at the Springfield Shriners Hospital for athletes who have sustained injuries. Our athletic trainers refer athletes to this clinic and develop guidelines for returning to activity.

Compassionate care in the community

The athletic trainers at the Springfield Shriners Hospital provide their training services to a variety of sporting events, including youth wrestling and summer soccer leagues. Local high school wrestling coach Bill Meeker was one of the first coaches to take advantage of the hospital's athletic training services.

"I've been involved with youth, high school and college sports for over 30 years," he said. "Nothing compares to the value of an insightful trainer. The ability to rapidly assess an athlete can mean a world of difference. Adding in the ability to treat and plan only improves the experience."

When an injury does occur, the Springfield Shriners Hospital team works with athletes, families and coaches to ensure a safe and swift return to play.

"At our state wrestling meet, we had a serious fracture," added Meeker. "I know many could have addressed the injury competently, but our trainer efficiently stabilized the patient. Beyond that, she was able to provide a level of comfort to all those involved that I've rarely seen. I truly believe that what the Springfield Shriners Hospital offers is a step above what we see on most fields of participation."

If you need an athletic trainer at your next event, contact our rehabilitation department at 413-735-1254.

Sports medicine