Every student-athlete is at risk of injury as soon as he or she steps on the field. Sprained ankles, broken arms and other injuries are possible in almost any sport. That’s where the athletic trainers come in.
Senior Alex Haines is a student athletic trainer for head athletic trainer Sean Wright.
“Being an athletic trainer is great,” said Haines. “You get to experience sports in a new way. I’m usually in the game, so it’s just a really different experience from what I’m used to.”
Wright is the teacher for the athletic training class at the high school. Students can take the class and also assist Wright on the sidelines at Webster games.
“I think inspiring others to do what I do is one of the best parts of my job,” said Wright. “It’s such a great profession and helping students find a career they are passionate about is so rewarding.”
“I always wanted to tape an ankle. Then after that, I found the rest of the class really interesting,” said Haines. “I really enjoy running the basketball games because I get to apply the things I’ve learned more than I might get to in the other sports.”
Haines has experienced a severe injury of his own. When he was a sophomore playing football, Haines suffered a severe concussion and was out for the rest of the season. He also sliced his finger the summer of junior year and was unable to compete on his summer league baseball team.
“I don’t remember much. I remember the hit though,” said Haines about his concussion. “By the time we got to the hospital, I couldn’t talk at all. Then I spent the night trying to read kid’s books and doing speech training exercises, but within the next couple days I slowly was able to regain my ability to talk.”
Haines’ injury has been one of the stranger and more severe injuries Wright has seen at Webster during his time, but it hasn’t been the worst he said.
“I have seen many season/career ending injuries at Webster,” said Wright. “Some of the most severe injuries I have seen are arm and leg fractures, dislocated knees, hips, fingers, shoulders and elbows and torn ligaments like an ACL that can involve six to twelve months of rehab.”
Wright shared a story of when he was working a Webster baseball game. “One time our right fielder collided with our second basemen on a pop-up, and they both were bloody and concussed from the impact. One of the players bit through his cheek.”
Wright diagnoses an injury through an acronym he refers to as HOPS which stands for history, observation, palpation and special tests. He’ll ask the injured athlete questions, look at the injury, feel the injured site and perform fracture tests, range of motion, manual muscle tests and specific injury tests to make an assessment of the injury.
Wright, who covers all of Webster’s sports, said he sees most of the more severe injuries in the high impact sports such as wrestling and football.
“Soccer and basketball produce a lot of lower body injuries, where baseball and softball have a lot of upper body injuries,” said Wright.
“I always say I’m going to create a trophy called the Golden Tape Award for the most injury prone athlete,” said Wright jokingly about if he sees some students regularly. “There are always one or two athletes that I seem to see every sports season for various injuries. I think if you play hard, though, there’s a chance to get hurt, and I don’t mind helping athletes that play with that intensity.”