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Athletic trainers work on and off the field of competition to ensure athletes stay healthy

Athletic trainers work on and off the field of competition to ensure athletes stay healthy

Patience may not be the first response in the heat of competition but people like Joshua Shride, the athletic trainer for seven years at Unity High School is there to remind the players and adults that when it comes to injury, patience prevails.

“It’s all about injury prevention,” he said. “We want student athletes to compete, but we also want them to be ready to perform. I always tell coaches that championships are not won at the start of the season.”

Shride is one of 34 athletic trainers at Carle Health who work to be role models for young athletes, partnering side-by-side with coaches to ensure athletes are at their best before competing and teaching students when they can return to play without risking a re-injury that can stay with them into adulthood.

“We’re blessed to have the best. The Carle athletic trainers are the best chance athletes have to stay healthy,” Heath Wilson, head football and head baseball coach at Villa Grove High School said. A Unity High School graduate who also played at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Ill. and at Eureka College, Wilson also worked with Carle athletic trainers while coaching for 10 years at St. Thomas More High School in Champaign.

Carle Sports Medicine Supervisor John Flannell, MS, said, “Athletic trainers provide the schools, coaches, parents and athletes piece of mind knowing that they are being cared for appropriately. The athletic trainers provide preventative measures to ultimately avoid injury. In the instance of injuries, the athletic trainers follow the athletes through the continuum of care providing, in many cases, the initial evaluation, appropriate referrals, and rehabilitation to safely return to sports. They also function as a liaison for the injured athletes to expedite care.”

Bryce Compton, MS, is the Carle athletic trainer who works with Villa Grove High School athletes and Wilson said they communicate daily. Wilson said it can be a difficult call sometimes when the player wants to compete and the player’s parents want their son or daughter to be in a competition, but Compton uses his professional training to emphasize keeping the athlete healthy beyond a particular moment in time.

“The player’s health is the most important thing,” Wilson said.

With March being National Athletic Trainer Month, Shride said this is an opportunity to remind people that the job is more than being on the field during practice or competition. Athletic trainers focus on head-to-toe health as they are also responsible for tasks such as therapy with athletes or sports related performance enhancement, to fitting braces when needed and working in a doctor’s clinic to do initial evaluations of patients before they see one of the sports-medicine physicians at Carle.

Like many athletic trainers, Shride learned the value of athletic trainers at a young age. He suffered an ankle injury during his senior year and worked with an athletic trainer at Clinton High School in Clinton, Ill.

“Working as an athletic trainer feels natural to me. Seeing the kids succeed; that’s what makes my job special. I enjoy sports. Anyway I can help out, I will,” he said.

Categories: Culture of Quality, Staying Healthy, Community

Tags: Champaign-Urbana, Orthopedics and Sports Medicine