Sports injuries are constantly in the news, whether the result of a professional, college or high school sporting competition. High schools across the US are dealing with this concern and have added either a full-time athletic trainer or use services provided by hospitals or clinics to take care of their athletes. According to a national survey from 2011 to 2014, only 37 percen t of high schools had full-time athletic trainer services. Rural school districts in small communities had the most challenges obtaining these resources due to limited funding and athletic trainer services offered in the area.
In 2007, newly hired Central Community Hospital (CCH) physical therapist Jackie Bormann recognized the need at Central Community School and together, with CCH administration, saw the opportunity for the hospital to connect with the community. A contract was executed between the school and hospital, located in Elkader, to provide therapy assessment and prevention services to Central student athletes.
This weekly connection allows the physical therapist to come directly into the school building and perform assessments on athletes who have been injured or recovering from an injury. The physical therapist can then share valuable information to those athletes about proper recovery methods and steer them in a direction of full recovery and prevention of further injuries. The physical therapist can also make referrals for further therapy services or expedite to a higher level of medical care if they see the need. Dan Yanda, Central Athletic Director, noted that by having the CCH physical therapists come into the school, it saves the student athlete time and keeps them in the classroom.
Now Bormann has been evaluating injuries of student athletes at Central School for 11 years. CCH physical therapists do not provide full athletic trainer services at Central School; they only provide the weekly evaluations at the school. Bormann also provides concussion training to the Central Ambulance Service crew members that attend the football games. She has provided education to coaches and the community for concussion training as well as instruction for a proper lifting clinic.
The most recent initiative between Central School District and CCH is the concussion testing protocol. Athletes undergo a concussion screening test before the sports season begins, creating a baseline of information and data points that include balance, memory, recall and concentration. The baseline screen is good for two years. If there are any signs of possible concussion during the season, a comparison of the pre-season baseline can help determine the extent of the concussion injury.
The goal of the physical therapist is to “return to learn” first, meaning re-assimilation into the classroom environment comes first. Bormann works with the school nurse, teacher and athletic director to assess what is appropriate for the student from an educational perspective during the course of the concussion. Once a “return to learn” is accomplished, the next step is to get the athlete to complete a “return-to-play” protocol and release him or her back into sports. Last fall, 11 Central student athletes were diagnosed and treated for concussions through this program.
CCH has also been providing full athletic trainer services at MFL MarMac Community School District since 2016. Physical Therapist Danielle Friedlein is onsite providing sideline coverage for home, varsity football, volleyball, basketball, wrestling and track/field events. She also provides on-site injury checks after school two days a week. Friedlein is a board-certified and state-licensed athletic trainer as well as a licensed physical therapist. The rehab team at CCH has also provided MFL MarMac athletes with pre-season baseline concussion screens.
CCH CEO Brooke Kensinger commented, “Central Community Hospital is here to assist in meeting the needs of the community, the service provided by the CCH Rehabilitation staff is a community benefit to both school districts.” Dan Yanda, Central School Athletic Director, also stated, “The partnership with CCH for athletic care services has allowed families to save money with potential doctor visits and extended services. The Central Community School District is very grateful for all that CCH has provided for athletic care and hopes this partnership can continue in the years to come.”Share this story.