Pee Dee athletic trainers prepare for season as high school football practices kick off in S.C.

Published: Jul. 28, 2023 at 9:15 PM EDT
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DILLON, S.C. (WMBF) - Focusing on the athletes during a Friday night game isn’t just a task for fans, it’s a crucial task for athletic trainers who stand on the sidelines trying to keep their team players healthy and in the game.

Friday was the first day of practices for high school football teams across South Carolina and both athletes and athletic trainers were there to get ready for the season.

Emma Pound is the athletic trainer for Dillon High School and part of the staff that works for Mcleod Sports Medicine. She was there at 9 a.m. Thursday to make sure students were staying safe and healthy on the field.

“We aren’t always seen and that’s okay, we’re usually pretty okay with that because we’re here for a greater purpose,” said Pound “We don’t just serve football, we’re here for all the athletes for our schools and we do care. We care a lot about these kids like I love my kids, they are fabulous kids.”

Wildcats Head Coach Kelvin Roller said having Pound on the sidelines is crucial and they always listen to her.

“We just do what we’re told to do,” said Roller “We have a trainer and she’s the boss when it comes to practice.”

One of the most common injuries athletic trainers are always looking for is concussions.

Dr. Donovan Johnson, an orthopedic surgeon with Conway Medical Center said there are factors that make you more likely to get one on the field.

“One being having a previous concussion, that increases your chances for a subsequent concussion by 2 times to 8 times,” said Dr. Johnson “In addition to that, contact sports are known to be a known risk factor so sports like football, basketball, soccer, and wrestling are even high risk sports. Being under the age of 18 is also a risk factor for concussions, as well as being a female athlete.”

Pound and Dr. Johnson both said that if a student-athlete experiences any symptoms or pain that suggest a head injury, they should head to the sidelines immediately.

“If they experience any symptoms at all they need to find their athletic trainer and let them know and be honest,” said Pound “That’s the biggest part is being honest, we can’t read minds, we don’t know what your head feels like, we don’t know how it hurts, we don’t know what you’re feeling until you come over and tell us.”