By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Over 120 local coaches and athletic directors attended the 3rd Annual Northeast Orthopedics Coaches Symposium on Aug. 3 at Southside High School. Participants were from area middle and high schools from all sports.
“Our biggest goal is general education,” said NEO Certified Athletic Trainer Chris Russell. “Coaches nowadays have so many things put on them, and in the state that we live in, not a lot of coaches have doctors and athletic trainers available all the time. Every year we pick different to-pics that appeal to a broad variety of coaches and helps them become better educated and more well-rounded.”
Seminars included Rehab or Prehab? By Chris Clark, ATC; Common Ailments in the Athlete by Dr. Ginger Gladden Medders, MD; Common Elbow Injuries by Adam Shaw, MD; and Common Shoulder Injuries by Dr. Butch Douthit, MD.
“We’re trying to edu-cate coaches on topics that are both important and interesting,” said Russell, who spoke on ACL prevention in female athletes. “We also have a suggestion box as the coa-ches leave so they can let us know what topics they’d like to learn about next year.”
Russell noted that the coaches received two hours of continuing education credit for attending the clinic.
Coaches selected two 30-minute sessions before lunch from a list of five topics, then attended another 30-minute session before participating in a raffle giveaway. Etowah County Schools Superintendent Dr. Alan Cosby gave opening remarks and pastor Thom Harrison from North Glencoe Baptist gave the invocation.
“Prehab a proactive approach to avoid pain and injury,” said Clark, a Jacksonville State Univer-sity adjunct professor and Certified Athletic Trainer, in a power point presentation. “It’s preparation for suc-cess in doing the little things and going the extra mile to make you a better athlete.
“In sports, it’s doing things like stretch regularly, yoga, hydration, nutrition. In prehab, you’re working on all aspects of athletics with physical, mental and emotional preparation.”
Clark said that rehab is the process of recovery and re-training the body through anatomy, kinesiology, bio-mechanics, physiology and psychology to get back to normal or functionality.
“It’s your choice,” said Clark. “Do you want your athletes to see us after they get hurt or see us to keep them playing at an optimal level?”
Following the symposium Clark conducted a CPR re-certification clinic.
Russell said that he se-lected his topic due to the rash of ACL injuries among female athletes.
“The whole talk that I did was on ways to identify girls with specific body types who are prone to tearing ACLs. The incidents of female to males who suffer ACL injuries are about 7 to 1, and the girls tear them in different ways. I talked about specific exercises we can do to strengthen the specific muscles where girls are weak.”
Russell pointed out that Alabama is one of only seven states where it is not mandatory to have an athletic trainer on a high school coaching staff.
“In most states, the cla-ssification you’re in de-termines how many athletic trainers you have to have, and a lot of the smaller and rural schools in this state don’t have the money to do that,” said Russell. “It’s a problem that will only get bigger as more and more kids get injured. Unfortunately, I think it will take a tragedy to change the mindset on this issue.”
Russell said that from a business standpoint, NEO uses the annual sym-posium to give back to the community.
“We’ve been blessed with a good office with some great physicians, and it’s an opportunity for good public relations as well as a way to thank our area coaches for letting us work with their kids. I hope we continue to grow and help our coaches become better prepared.”
NEO wished to thank the Southside High School staff, the Etowah Board of Education, Etowah County School principals and Chick-fil-A.