It’s a great year to be an athlete in the Washington County Public School system. For the first time in this county, there are athletic trainers on staff at every high school within the public school realm. Having athletic trainers as part of the team approach to treating our student athletes has been something that the staff at the Center for Joint Surgery and Sports Medicine have been advocating for for many years. We have seen surrounding counties successfully integrate athletic trainers into their schools, and now this year, we are very excited to have them join our team as providers of care in Washington County!!! The National Athletic Trainers’ Association defines athletic trainers as, “health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions. Students who want to become certified athletic trainers must earn a degree from an accredited athletic training curriculum. Accredited programs include formal instruction in areas such as injury/illness prevention, first aid and emergency care, assessment of injury/illness, human anatomy and physiology, therapeutic modalities, and nutrition. Classroom learning is enhanced through clinical education experiences.” Once obtaining at least a Bachelor’s degree, and many go on to obtain a Master’s degree, an athletic trainer must pass a certification exam in order to become licensed to practice. To maintain their license, they must adhere to their state practice act, take continuing education courses, and have a physician sign off on their certification. As part of a team of healthcare professionals, athletic trainers play a vital role in the treatment of an injured athlete. Their expertise and skill set in the assessment of injuries that occur on the field or court during games and at practices is the first step in getting an injured athlete safely back on his or her feet and into the game. They have an important role in both rehabilitating the injured athlete if the case requires only conservative interventions, as well as recognizing the need for further diagnostic testing or interventions by a physician. If an injury requires surgery and/or long-term rehabilitation to restore motor control and proper functional mobility, they may also work directly with physical therapists to return an athlete to their sport. This team approach to caring for our student athletes will effectively and efficiently return athletes to their sports with the least risk of further injury. The Center for Joint Surgery and Sports Medicine is very excited about the addition of athletic trainers in Washington County. We are looking forward to developing professional working relationships to best serve our community and our student athletes. If your son or daughter does incur an injury, please know that our office is available to assist your needs. We will do our very best to have any injured athlete examined by a healthcare provider within 24 hours of their injury. We wish the student athletes and the athletic trainers in the Washington County and the Tri-State area the best of luck this 2014-2015 school year!
Jolee Ashley, DPT, CCRP is a physical therapist at the Center for Joint Surgery and Sports Medicine. She has been in practice for 7 years and has a love for orthopedics and sports medicine. She enjoys partnering with her patients to achieve their goals and to help rehabilitate them so that they, too, can get back to doing the things that they love.