Fitness & Nutrition

Keeping Young Athletes Safe Through Sports Medicine

February 24, 2021

Keeping Young Athletes Safe Through Sports Medicine

Sports medicine focuses on treating and preventing exercise and sports-related injuries. It falls under the main umbrella of rehabilitation programs and orthopedics, but athletic trainers are on the ground, helping the youth in our community stay safe during their practices and sporting events. Not only that, but sports medicine allows for the convenience of rehabilitation and specific programs targeted toward students right in their own schools.

Sports medicine in our schools

Three Hancock County high schools — Greenfield-Central, Knightstown, and Eastern Hancock — are equipped with athletic trainers from Hancock Health. These trained professionals attend every sporting event and keep athletes safe behind the scenes with wrapping, icing, caring for injuries, rehabbing, and training programs. They are trained to quickly assess an injury with the added benefit of being there when an injury happens. This allows them to get a clearer picture of the mechanism and which body parts are involved. Keeping athletes safe and their bodies less prone to repeating injuries is one reason that sports medicine is an important asset in our high schools.

What about bigger injuries?

We spoke to Melissa Watson, director of Rehabilitation Services through Hancock Health. She affirmed that student-athletes needing more than what can be offered by athletic trainers are referred to either a physician through Hancock Health or their own practitioner of choice. Rehabilitation services through Hancock Health are available at Hancock Regional Hospital as well as at each of the Hancock Wellness Centers. With the opening of the New Palestine location, that makes for a total of four outpatient clinics. The availability of aquatics therapy, as well as dry-land therapy, means students and patients are able to get a full scope of rehabilitation for many injuries through Hancock Health, says Watson.

What about non-students?

Although sports medicine zeroes in on athletes, and in this case, the student-athletes in our community, the framework of this methodology is based on rehabilitation and orthopedics. Both of these services are offered to anyone with an injury through the Hancock Health System, Hancock Regional Hospital, and all of the Wellness Center locations with a physician referral. Although things do look a little different because of COVID, athletic trainers, as well as rehab specialists, are doing their best to ensure both a safe and effective environment for healing injuries.

The sports medicine program through Hancock Health Rehabilitation Services strives to provide even more athletic training services to a growing body of students in the coming years. This program has grown despite COVID and offers a promising glimpse into its future. Although athletic trainers are currently stationed within high schools, Watson hopes they can branch out to help younger athletes as well. They would also like to partner with more physicians and orthopedists to create a comprehensive team. Hancock Health is known for its passion for serving the community, and the sports medicine program remains a shining example of keeping our youth safe and healthy.