Look around you - people these days are on the move. When the level of physical activity increases, so does the risk for injury, which is where a certified athletic trainer comes in. Whether it is a school-aged athlete or a middle-aged mom jumping into recreational athletics, a certified athletic trainer can help.
Certified athletic trainers - ATCs - are medical experts in preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating injuries that result from physical activity. Athletic trainers can help you avoid disruption of normal day life. If you are injured, they can get you on the mend and keep you on the move.
Trinity Regional Medical Center currently has three ATCs on staff. The TRMC athletic trainers are in a unique position to offer a free service to area schools in which they provide evaluation and follow-up care of athletic injuries. The immediate availability of an ATC at these schools provides an athlete with an evaluation quickly, so the athlete can return to activity as safely as possible. The athletic trainers and the area schools have developed a relationship to cover athletic events and practices for high school athletes. While at the schools, the ATC will evaluate injuries, perform immediate care and treatment to the injuries and refer them on to the appropriate health care provider, if needed. Some of the injuredmay require rehabilitation or strengthening prior to returning to their sport.
After the evaluation and treatment of the injury, the ATCs are there to give an assessment to the athlete, parent(s) and coaches on the estimated time to return to activity. TRMC's athletic trainers are also involved in providing care for other events and community involvements. These events include Girls State Softball, Boys and Girls State Cross Country, Iowa Games and RAGBRAI.
In addition to providing care of athletic injuries, the ATCs also work as a resource to answer questions regarding a variety of athletic-related topics including nutrition, stretching and strengthening exercises.
Trinity Regional Medical Center's athletic training department also operates Trinity Accelerated Performance Program. The TAP Program, located at Trinity's Highland Park Center since 2000, is the only program of its kind in the area. A research-based, performance-enhancement program challenges the athletes with cutting-edge training programs for speed and overall athletic performance using our Super Treadmill that has a top speed of 28.8 mph and an incline up to 40 percent.
Tips from the athletic trainer
Initiate the RICE method. RICE is the recommended immediate treatment for any injury. The letters in RICE stand for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
- Rest, because this allows for healing. Continuing to use the injured body part can further the damage.
- Ice, contracts the injured blood vessels, limiting the bleeding in the area and reducing swelling and recovery time.
- Compression is important because it limits swelling.
- Elevation utilizes the force of gravity to reduce swelling in the injured area.
Sports nutrition tips for athletes:
- Stay hydrated, because our bodies are of 55-65 percent fluid. Even being slightly dehydrated can impair performance. Basic formula - take your body weight divide by two and that is the number of fluid ounces needed on a daily basis.
- Consume adequate calories and carbohydrates, because food is our fuel. Complex carbohydrates such as cereals, pasta, fruits and vegetables should make up at least 50 percent of our diet.
- Eat adequate amounts of protein because athletes are tearing down muscle tissue through regular workouts. They should consume adequate amounts of beans, fish, poultry, nuts, peanut butter, eggs and dairy products.
- Regular meals and snacks because eating regularly (every two to four hours) help to maintain blood glucose and energy throughout the day and practice.
The ATCs and sports enhancement specialists work with athletes ages 12 and older to improve 40-yard dash time, increase vertical jump, increase throwing speed and enhance sport-specific strength and power. The training programs are tailored to the athlete's strengths and weaknesses so each individual gains the maximum benefits possible. In six weeks of training, many athletes have seen documented improvement in their athletic skills, such as a decrease in 40-yard dash time by an average of 2/10 of a second, an increased vertical jump by an average of 2 to 4 inches and an average increase in throwing speed of 4 mph. These results are sure to give any athlete an edge over the competition.
If you have any questions about the TAP Program or are interested in how Trinity Regional Medical Center's athletic trainers can provide service to an area school please call Highland Park Center at 574-6919 or visit TRMC's Web site at www.trmc.org.
Michelle Mann is a certified athletic trainer on the staff of Trinity Regional Medical Center.