Photo: Northeast Orthopedics Physical Therapy Administrator Chris Russell and assistant Kelsey Patterson demonstrate how to use resistance bands to strengthen the shoulder during the 4th Annual NEO Coaches Symposium on Aug. 3 at Southside High School. (Kaitlin Fleming/Messenger)
By Kaitlin Fleming/Staff Correspondent
With just a few weeks to go before the Friday night lights are burning, sports-related injuries are a top con-cern for local coaches.
To address this issue, Northeast Orthopedics hosted its 4th Annual Coaches Symposium on Aug. 3 at Southside High School. The event featured five different classes geared toward the different stages of sports injuries. The classes offered were Knee Injuries, Concussion Updates, Shoulder and Elbow Rehab, Injury Prevention and Advanced Taping Techniques.
“We change topics every year,” said Physical Therapy Administrator Chris Russell. “We have a suggestion box at the end of every symposium, and we pull next year’s topics from that box. Last year, one of the most requested topics was proper warm up and cool down techniques. That is why we brought in [NEO athletic trainer] Kaitlyn Revette to teach the injury prevention class.”
“Injury Prevention” was the most crowded class at the symposium. With the room at standing room-only capacity, Revette demonstrated proper stretching form for both pre-and post workouts. Stretching can reduce injuries in all categories of sports but only when done correctly. Many injuries occur because of an overused or tired muscle, but stretching and gradual strengthening of muscles can prevent a multitude of minor and major injuries.
“The neatest topic was the injury prevention topic,” said Russell. “The story behind Kaitlyn being there is actually kind of funny. Years ago, she was one of the best athletes in the area (at Cherokee County High School in Centre). She had two knee injuries during her senior year that we treated. That’s what got her into sports rehab. Now, she works with us and teaches some of the coaches she learned under and learned against.”
Revette’s knee injuries are not uncommon, as knee injuries are the most common in sports. Russell said of the more than 500 injuries NEO treated, knee injuries were the most treated last year, followed by ankle injuries.
Females tend to be more prone to knee injuries, specifically anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries. Most of the knee injuries that do happen usually occur during non-contact pivoting or rotating motions.
“Injuries are going to ha-ppen in sports,” said Russell. “We just want to help coaches know what to look for. It helps the coaches be better coaches. Gone are the days of the ‘just walk it off’ attitude. When the coaches know more about injuries, it makes them more rounded as a coach.”
Russell said that NEO will continue the annual symposiums and hopes to offer it in more counties as the event grows.
“[Feedback] has been really positive so far,” he said. “Coaches want to do what is best for their kids. They want to know what to do when a kid gets hurt and how long it will take for that kid to get better.”
Russell said that this year’s symposium was one of the biggest NEO has had. Over 100 coaches were in attendance, a close second to the 120 total of last year.
“We love doing the symposium and we do a really good job of giving back to our community. We take pride in taking care of our kids and we know the coaches benefit from it too.”
In addition to the annual symposium, NEO sends its athletic trainers to local high school games and hosts Injury Clinics on Saturday mornings beginning Aug. 25.