You might think the most important members of a high school football team are the quarterbacks or linemen. But coaches and athletic directors will tell you that the most important members don’t put on the pads, but roam the sidelines. They are the athletic trainers and team physicians. They are at all of the team practices and games, and get to know each player and their individual needs. They are in the best position to know when something isn’t quite right with a player, and to give immediate help.
The Sports Medicine and Performance Center at The University of Kansas Health System supplies the athletic trainers and physicians for 13 area high schools, including Shawnee Mission, Blue Valley, DeSoto and Lansing, plus a host of middle schools in the area. In the video, we hear from Ryan Sloop, head athletic trainer at Shawnee Mission West High School and Dan Fletcher, head athletic trainer at Shawnee Mission Northwest. They each explain what they do during the game, how they handle the different weather conditions for their players and how helpful it can be having a colleague on the opposing team’s side.
Also on the video is Dr. John Alm, also with The Sports Medicine and Performance Center and team doctor for Shawnee Mission West. He explains the importance of having a doctor at each game, what he watches for from the sidelines, and the importance being there from middle school on up. He also talks about his recent experience at the Olympics and what different kinds of athletes he took care of.
The video also includes trainers in action during a game between Shawnee Mission West and Shawnee Mission Northwest.