By Sarah Maninga, TCHC Certified Athletic Trainer
The fall sports season is well under way, and with that comes the risk of injuries associated with athletes.
As an athletic trainer, I am trained in evaluating injuries and make suggestions for the next step after injuries happen. This can include immediate care on the sidelines or a visit to sports medicine, ReadyCare or the emergency department.
The right care, right away
When an injury happens at a sporting event, an athletic trainer is typically the first to run out onto the field or the first person to meet the athlete after they walk off the field. We see a wide variety of injuries ranging from bloody noses to broken bones.
When an athlete is down on the field or the court, the first thing we do is determine the extent of the injury. From there, we decide if we need more medical responders such as an ambulance. If we decide it does not require an ambulance, we can move the athlete to the sidelines and begin an evaluation.
- History (location of pain, peripheral symptoms, mechanism of injury, associated sounds and symptoms, history of injury)
- Palpation (bony alignment, joint alignment, swelling, painful areas, deficit in muscles or tendons)
- Joint and muscle function (range of motion, weight-bearing status)
After we go through the evaluation, we need to decide how to manage the injury. This can include putting a bag of ice on a sprained ankle, splinting a broken wrist or having the parents bring the athlete to the emergency department.
So how do you choose where to take your child athlete when he or she gets hurt? It mostly depends on the injury, and you have multiple options to choose from.
Sports medicine. TCHC offers a Sports Medicine Clinic Monday through Friday from 8 to 9 a.m. at the Wadena Clinic. It is also offered at the Henning Clinic Monday through Friday by appointment. This service includes a free sports injury evaluation by one of TCHC’s medical providers. All student athletes from elementary to high school are eligible.
This is a great option for overuse injuries such as tendinitis and for non-emergency acute injuries such as joint sprains and muscle strains.
If the medical provider determines that there needs to be additional testing or services after the evaluation, then fees for those services will be charged at that time.
ReadyCare is a walk-in clinic offered by TCHC. It is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. This is a great option for a variety of illnesses and sports injuries including:
- Minor lacerations
- Minor traumas
- Muscle aches and pains
- Skin rashes/infections
The emergency department is a 24-hour service open seven days a week. The emergency department is for more serious injuries such as broken bones or dislocations, but it is also an option when everything else is closed and an injury or illness can’t wait until the next day.
About the Author: Sarah Maninga has been an athletic trainer at TCHC since January 2015. She works with athletes at three area schools: Wadena Deer Creek, Sebeka and Menahga. During her time off, she enjoys spending her time with her husband on their small farm and doing anything that involves being outside, especially hunting and running.