The Little Rock School District and Arkansas Children’s Hospital are partnering to place an athletic trainer every public high school in the city. Officials say the goal of the agreement is to have adequate medical for all high school athletes.
Parkview basketball player, Morgan Brady, who will be a junior this school year, welcomes the news. In previous years, she says, her team did not get much attention.
"We didn't really see the trainer until later in the season around conference. The trainer was normally with the football players. It’s good the trainer is coming in for all sports," Brady said.
Before when, the district was short on trainers, Brady says teams relied on coaches to provide attention to the day to day injuries that often occur in sports.
"I’ve had shoulder injuries, a rolled ankle, or a scrape or something, but when we have trainers, it’s better because they are able to handle properly instead of our coach trying to handle it."
Although coaches are capable of managing some injuries, many are not trained to specifically treat children.
Dr. Brant Sachleben, an orthopedic surgeon at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, said at the announcement at Hall High School that medical professionals are better suited to try and prevent students from getting hurt.
"They present unique issues because they are still growing. I think at the children’s hospital, we provide a unique skill set for these growing athletes," Sachleben said.
The athletic trainers from the hospital’s Sports Medicine Program will be watching practices and home games at each of Little Rock’s five public high schools. They will also be available to consult with middle school coaches.
District Athletic Director John Daniels says in the past, they did not have consistent medical personnel.
"Before this, we had a contract with OrthoArkansas that had one trainer. He tried to cover as much as he could, then on game nights he would provide us with interns from other hospitals to provide game coverage."
Daniels says the agreement has been effective since July 1. The school district has been working during the past month, he says, to get the new training staff situated in the schools where they will be working.
"They’re housed inside the high schools. They have their own offices. They will be responsible on a day to day basis of taking care of any sport whether in season or out," Daniels said.
Trainers have already advised the district to buy more ice machines, because of the hot, humid weather as football practices have begun.
The district and the hospital’s agreement is good for one year and they will assess its effectiveness then.