FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – McLeod Hospital is teaching Pee Dee coaches to recognize and treat injuries to ensure the safety of child athletes.
Now that children tend to play sports year-round, McLeod's sports medicine division warned of the injuries athletes can sustain since there is not much of an off-season during Monday evening's clinic.
Former coaches and trainers discussed basic first aid, warm ups and cool downs and the use of heat and ice to prevent injuries. They also provided information on concussion management, as well as the importance of hydration in preventing heat illness.
"If they do see those athletes fall on the ground, they don't say 'Get up, we've got a game to win,'" is what McLeod Sports Medicine Coordinator Lisa Sanders hopes coaches take away from the clinic. She said understanding how to asses an injury and knowing when to seek further medical attention is paramount in helping coaches ensure the safety of their athletes.
Trainers and physicians showed coaches how to recognize when gear and equipment do not properly fit an athlete, which can increase chances of sustaining an injury. They also demonstrated how to handle a potential spine injury and when it is safe to remove equipment when an athlete is hurt.
"They want to play, that's all the younger kids want to do," said Dr. Brian Blair, an orthopedic surgeon at McLeod Hospital. "They sometimes won't admit to having an injury."
For this reason, he said it is especially important for coaches to recognize injuries in younger athletes.
McLeod hosts a coach's clinic twice a year at the start of the fall and spring seasons. Monday's clinic was the first where Florence County did not required all athletic personnel to attend.
"I don't want to go out there and be ignorant, and none of the coaches do," said coach Byran Joe, who attended the clinic for the first time. "We don't want to get into a situation where we don't know what not to do."
Coaches are asked to complete a survey after each clinic, which helps coordinators determine the topics for the following clinic.
More than 50 coaches from the Pee Dee and Myrtle Beach voluntarily attended Monday evening's clinic, which is the only one of its kind offered in the area.
"With the information that we're giving the coaches, you can absolutely trust [coaches] are taking care and know what they're doing on the field with your child," Sanders said.
McLeod has a sports medicine clinic where physicians treat injuries free of charge. Parents and coaches can call 843-777-5043 to schedule an appointment between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 10 p.m.