If you have attended a high school sporting event during the 2016 fall season chances are that you have seen at least one of two recently hired athletic trainers working the sidelines.
Earlier this year the Claiborne County School Board voted in favor of supplying licensed and certified athletic trainers at both Claiborne High and Cumberland Gap High schools. According to coaches of all sports, this has been long overdue. Mara Brock and Sarah Bean were hired by Pinnacle Performance Physical Therapy with the goal of providing athletic training to Cumberland Gap and Claiborne High Schools respectively. They split time between their assigned schools and at Pinnacle Performance.
The primary goal of the program is to help the local high schools improve their athletes safety and bring home championships. They also address the community concern of continued care with the athletes in the area after an injury.
With these trainers in place, the hope is to quickly diagnose injuries, relay information to coaches and parents in real time, suggest further treatment and referral to additional medical rehab and assistance if needed in addition to normal pre-game taping, preparation and rehab. Following up care and treatment after an injury happens is one way to keep the dedicated athletes out on the fields, court, track and diamonds.
The owner of Pinnacle Performance Physical Therapy, Heather Smith PT, MTC, is a native of Claiborne County. She stated, “It is very important to see our local schools thrive in academics and sports. The practice takes pride in the ability to provide these types of services to our local schools, keep athletes safe, and playing sports.”
The athletic trainers work closely with the physical therapist at Pinnacle when the athletes require rehabilitation. The team is able to provide good continuity of care by providing them access to rehab quickly and consultation with the athletes physician. Pinnacle Performance utilizes direct access for patients to physical therapy as well as having great relationships with local physicians and orthopedic surgeons in Knoxville. The facility has state of the art equipment with the Alter G and Category 4 laser. All of this provides the athletic trainers the assistance they need to get the athlete back to their sport quickly with consistent care and a team approach.
Smith added, “Claiborne County has taken a step in the right direction, keeping our athletes safety in mind. The contract with a physical therapy clinic provides the school systems with guidance on proper policies and procedures for having sports medicine services available on the sidelines. The company is providing the athletic trainers with professional liability insurance, employee benefits, while also donating some supplies to the schools as part of the contract to provide the athletic training services. Both of our athletic trainers are B.O.C. certified and licensed to practice in the state of Tennessee. They are well trained to assess injuries as they occur, provide rehabilitation services, and provide knowledge to the teams about injury prevention. Another vital asset to the county, the athletic trainers are trained in concussion recognition and evaluation. Concussions are one of the most known life threatening injuries involved with contact sports. With rising rates of concussions in high school athletics, it will soon be required for all high schools to have an athletic trainer available.”
The Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association has yet to mandate all schools have an AT on staff but they use the statement that all schools are strongly encouraged to provide AT services especially during the football events. Parents are encouraged to speak with their school’s AT about any concerns or questions he or she might have.
Both Brock and Bean are Claiborne High School graduates and former cheerleaders as well as Lincoln Memorial University alumni.
Reach Allen Earl at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @pitchadude.