National Athletic Training Month shines light on hard work, skills needed to help protect local students

Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 6:29 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - National Athletic Training Month is held every year in March to shine a spotlight on the unique set of skills that athletic trainers have.

There are athletic trainers in all different levels of sports, but most athletic trainers work at high schools, caring for student-athletes.

“You can’t express in words how important it is to have student healthcare for our student-athletes,” said Conway High School Head Athletic Trainer Dr. Jim Berry.

Athletic trainers have experience in all types of care, from on-site emergencies to providing rehabilitation. This includes knowing the signs and treatments of broken bones, concussions, asthma attacks and heat strokes.

After an injury, athletic trainers will work with students for extended periods of time to make sure they are ready to suit up again.

“In addition to helping students get back, we provide a service to the community, where we provide this care for free,” said Myrtle Beach Head Athletic Trainer Andrea Owens. “Coming in to get evaluated, get taped, certainly a lot of injuries can be managed without needing X-rays or needing a form of physical therapy and we provide that for our community. So, we provide those services here. We certainly have students who come in every day.”

However, if a student-athlete does need something like an X-ray or surgery, athletic trainers have built solid relationships with physicians to help to facilitate those appointments quickly.

“We’re using the latest research, were following the latest methods and things that are prescribed to be done based upon that research,” said Berry. “Our athletic training program in Horry County, you go to any school in this county, the services that we’re providing to our student-athletes are equal to anything you are going to see at a Division 1 university and many professional programs.”

The care these student-athletes get isn’t just for athletes who are going on to play at the collegiate level, but for students to who may go down a different path after graduation.

“I think it’s important for the kids like the Luke Dotys and the Adam Randalls of the world who are going to go on to play Division 1 football, and hopefully NFL football, said Owens, referring to two Myrtle Beach High School graduates who went on to play football at South Carolina’s two biggest schools. “But I also think it’s important for the kids who are not. The kids who are just high school athletes, because we can teach them some things to better take care of themselves in the long run.”

There are a lot of rewards that come with working as an athletic trainer, but most can agree that the best part is seeing athletes get healthy again.

“They have a devasting injury like an ACL or they break their leg or whatever,” said Berry. “To watch them go from that split moment where they get hurt, following through the process, helping them get better, rehab and helping them get back on that field and participate. "

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