From perfecting their knowledge of anatomy and medical techniques inside the classroom, to supporting athletes on the sideline, Sports Med students do more than just simply tape ankles -- they have the opportunity to participate in real world experiences and gain valuable life skills.
February 27, 2017
A dark sky, glaring spotlights, the roar of a cheering crowd: and on the field, an athlete sprints their way to victory. At any sporting event, the athletes take center stage; all attention is focused on their physical prowess and feats. However, unknown to many are those who support the team from behind the scenes. The students of the school’s unique Sports Medicine program stand vigilantly to the side, ready to spring into action should an injury occur. Like the athletes on the field, the game is where these students get to shine.
Sports Medicine is split into two years. In regular Sports Medicine, students learn all the information they will need when they move onto Advanced Sports Med, where they get hands-on experience treating athletes’ injuries on the field.
Senior Claire Desenberg shared her experiences in regular Sports Medicine.
“Sports Medicine is a class where we learn all about anatomy and different injuries that correspond with different sports. […] We usually come in and begin with notes, if there are any, and if it’s a practice day we’ll go into practicing the skills that we’re working on. Practice days are usually three days that Mrs. Campbell dedicates to us practicing either our taping skills or our test skills for injuries. She doesn’t have notes those days, […] but she really gears it towards practicing those skills for her tests,” said Desenberg.
As with an unusual subject, the tests are a different format as well.
“Sometimes there is a time that [Mrs. Campbell] requires you to finish the assigned task in, so she’ll time you and you have to perform the taping task. Or if it’s not a timed taping task, she’ll ask you what type of injury you’re testing for. She’ll grade you on your hand placement and if the movement is executed correctly,” said Desenberg.
Advanced Sports Med is where all of those skills are put into practice. Senior Matthew Kubes explained the structure of the class.
“In regular Sports Med, you learn about the basics of injuries like breaks, ankle injuries, you learn all the bones, you learn how to treat those certain injuries, you learn signs and symptoms for concussions, and you also learn most of the different injuries mainly and how to treat them. [Advanced] Sports Med is basically a class where we take what we’ve learned from the previous year in regular Sports Med and take it into actual on-field work. We’re assigned to do a certain sport and we go to that sport and […] we give water to the team, we’re taping ankles, if an injury happens, we’re the ones there. If Mrs. Campbell isn’t there we’re the ones that make sure that the person is in good hands and that they’re taken care of,” said Kubes.
However, there is a limit to how much the students can treat on their own, as Kubes explained.
“When I was with [Mrs. Campbell], I was basically one of those people where she’d tell me what to do and I’d help her take care of a wound or tape ankles, but […] I can’t diagnose anything and neither can the trainers. So if someone’s not feeling well, or not capable, or their ankle really hurts, I can give them ice. If there’s a wound, I can try and take care of it, patch it up if it’s not too big; but mainly, if there’s anything like a big break, I’m obviously not going to try and bandage them up. I feel like if it’s that bad, then just call an ambulance,” said Kubes.
The class has an unusual structure; although on paper they convene during sixth periods, in reality, their school-hour meetings are more sporadic.
“Usually we meet the first sixth period of the week, sometimes we’re there the whole class, sometimes we’re only there for 45 minutes depending on what we need to do. Usually we either assign sports or review certain techniques on injuries,” said Kubes.
Part of what makes the class s o fun for those involved is the teacher and founder of the class, Heather Campbell.
“Mrs. Campbell is really great, she always is very interactive with the students and showing demonstrations and very open to helping us with any questions we have with regards to our own injuries or injuries that we’ve seen other people have. She’s always there providing really good notes for us so we always feel comfortable if we ever had to take action in a situation. For example, I had a minor ankle sprain and I asked her about tapings and how to take care of it. She was really good about showing me how to tape my ankle. […] It actually became a lesson,” said Desenberg.
Kubes had a similarly positive opinion.
“My favorite part of the class is probably just being with Mrs. Campbell. She’s a very cool person,” said Kubes.
Sports Medicine provides plenty of experience for people interested in coaching, sports medicine, or physical therapy.
“I decided to take the class because, being a dancer, I thought it’d be beneficial to learn more about my body and how to take care of certain injuries and just know more kinesthetics. […] I think it’s a very interesting class that if you ever get the chance to take it, take the opportunity, because it’s not your typical science course,” said Desenberg.
For anyone looking to specialize in sports-related health care in the future, Sports Medicine and Advanced Sports Med are a unique and enriching hands-on experience. Or, even for those who are not so forward-thinking, the class is rife with information on preventing and caring for injuries, and as such is always an excellent choice for anyone who wants to learn more about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle
On The Field
Sports Medicine offers more than just in-class, vocational training – those who participate in the advanced period also get to experience real-life settings where they can apply their skills to diverse situations. One can almost always spot a group of Sports Med. students, clad in their forest-green windbreakers, enthusiastically cheering at a game. Countless athletes have been helped through their aid, and many feel that just having the presence of the students on the sidelines, ready to give them water or assist with a sprain, is an immense comfort.
Freshman Katelyn Machado, a basketball player, details her positive experience with Sports Med. students and how they affect the atmosphere of the crowd.
“There’s been a few injuries that they’ve helped on and they always give us water and stuff like that. One of my teammates hurt her thumb, and they taped it for the game. They’re really quick to the injury to help out. They’re especially loud with cheering and they’re really supportive,” said Machado.
One student experienced the support of sports med when faced with a critical injury during a wrestling match. Sophomore Caleb Wood, a wrestler, endured a cut to his head, and he reflects that sports med made a significant difference on his recovery.
“I got injured recently, and I cut my head. He helped me bandage it up. He [a cleaned it up, and he checked in on me the next meet also, so that’s cool. My head [injury] was pretty big–there was a one-inch gash on my head, and I was bleeding a lot. Also at other meets I’ve seen them help with broken bones. They don’t really do the broken stuff, but they still try and help,” said Wood.
Though Sports Med. doesn’t deal with serious injuries often, they do help with the prevention of such wounds by stretching out the players before and during games, wrapping up painful ligaments, and keeping a watchful eye on the game in case of an emergency. Likewise, the class of sports med provides refreshments and applause along the sidelines of each game.
Ultimately, Sports Med. has a pivotal presence on and off the field, on and off the court, and around school. Whether they are studying anatomy inside their classroom or cleaning and bandaging up a player, the sports med class is learning, prospering, and helping one stitch at a time.