Sideline Assistance: From Stretching to Saving Lives
In every sport, athletes risk injury. Athletic trainers support and assist these athletes to lower that possibility. They help them warm up, stretch and prepare the body for rigorous action.
Dr. David Carr, associate professor in the department of sports medicine and athletic training at Missouri State University, shares a story about a tragedy that highlights why adequate medical training is important on the sidelines.
"About six years ago, a national team soccer player collapsed on the field. Nobody knew what to do for him. He died. It was a simple obstructed airway, but nobody knew what to do," remembers Carr.
Now, Carr participates with the World Federation of Athletic Training and Therapy (WFAT) to provide basic athletic training courses for people in Jordan. This is offered in conjunction with the Crown Prince Foundation and the Jordan Olympic Committee.
"We teach a basic athletic training class over the course of a week with an emphasis on emergency care," he said. "It's the kinds of skills that they're not getting through their college education now."
Athletes often battle orthopedic injuries resulting from over use, noted Carr. But more than these typical afflictions, Carr says athletic trainers work as part of a team to keep athletes at peak performance.
"Our first job is prevention of injury or illness," he said, which includes stretching, ensuring proper hydration, taping ankles and more. "But inevitably, injuries happen. Since we are right there when it happens - we're on the sidelines for practices and games - we're the first one to respond to it. So we need that emergency care skill set."
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