Athletic Trainers Tend to High School Athletes, Community

February 19, 2009

When an injury occurs on the field at your local high school game or meet, a Ministry Health Care Certified and Licensed Athletic Trainer is there to evaluate and serve as a resource to the athletes and coaches, and to work with the athlete in the days and months ahead.

Certified and Licensed Athletic Trainers are highly qualified, multi-skilled allied health care professionals, specializing in injury and illness prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for all physically active people, including the weekend warrior or general public. They practice the medical arts to the highest professional standards and are regulated and licensed health care workers that practice under state statues recognizing them as health care professionals, similar to physical therapists and occupational therapists.

Though athletic trainers are commonly seen on the sidelines at games, their work begins long before the game actually starts. Athletes at Lakeland Union High School (LUHS) visit the athletic training room before practices and games for a variety of reasons – taping of ankles, knees, hips, wrists, fingers, thumbs, toes, and even the occasional shoulders or ribs – from past injuries, or to prevent potential injuries. Athletes who are experiencing muscle, joint, bone or mental pain come in for treatment that may involve ice, stretching, manual therapy, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, ice bath, hot packs, massage, and counseling to help reduce that pain so they can function on the practice or game fields.

Locally, Jonathan Ekhoff, Certified and Licensed Athletic Trainer with Howard Young Health Care, works to keep athletes safe both on the field and in the athletic training room.

“I work with the athletes before the game to make sure they are in the best possible condition for the game they are about to play,” said Ekhoff. “In the days and months that follow, I'll oversee and progress their rehabilitation programs to make sure that they can return to the practice and game fields a better athlete than before the injury occurred.”

Services are also provided for Northland Pines High School, Conserve School and Mercer High School.

“The athletic training services provided to our student-athletes through the Howard Young Medical Center Rehabilitation Department gives us the support we need to keep our student-athletes safe, healthy, and in the best possible condition so they can continue to play the game they love,” said Justin Szews, Activities Director and Dean of Students, Lakeland Union High School.

Off the field, the rehabilitation departments at Howard Young Medical Center and Eagle River Memorial Hospital treat patients that have sustained an injury and are in need of sports medicine services. Nicole Davis, Certified and Licensed Athletic Trainer, joins Ekhoff in these efforts. Ankle sprains, ACL tears, meniscal tears, shoulder and elbow dislocations, back pain, shoulder instability are some of the common injuries that are treated.

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