Train the Trainer

Athletes in just about every sport rely heavily on athletic trainers, yet very few understand the workload required to keep players healthy, prevent injuries, provide emergency care, monitor conditions such as heat and environmental factors, offer therapeutic options and rehabilitate injuries when they do happen.

The Prosper Sports Medicine program mission statement of the program reads, “The Prosper Sports Medicine program is dedicated to showing Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Leadership and Sportsmanship while striving to protect the student-athlete through injury prevention and risk management. The Prosper Sports Medicine Staff remains current in knowledge and skills in injury prevention, recognition, evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation in an effort to maintain the overall health and wellness of the student-athlete.”

Coach Michael Henry, Head Athletic Trainer at Prosper High School, and Sarah Hartman, Assistant Athletic Trainer, say the purpose of the Prosper Sports Medicine Program is to teach leadership, responsibility, team work, and accountability to student trainers in a hands-on working environment. Henry and Hartman train and oversee a roster of sixteen student athletic trainers in the day-to-day activities. Student trainers are selected through an application process and are held to higher levels of integrity, confidentiality, and are expected to represent Prosper in a positive manner at all times.

Senior Cidney Smith is one of the leaders in the sports medicine program. She says, “This program is good experience for me as I plan on becoming a pediatrician specializing in the N.I.C.U.”

A key responsibility of the Prosper Sports Medicine Program is to provide referrals for injured athletes when necessary. Prosper has forged a relationship with Children’s Health Andrews Institute, an all-inclusive healthcare destination for a range of sports medicine needs and orthopedic conditions. According to its website, Andrew’s Institute was developed under the direction of internationally renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews and is dedicated to the pediatric population by offering a full spectrum of services from orthopedic surgery and fracture care to rehabilitation and injury prevention, training and nutrition.

Because many of Prosper’s practices begin before the sun even rises, the athletic trainers can typically be found in the training room starting between 6:30-7:00 a.m. on any given morning. But instead of leaving early, the athletic trainers are often the last ones to leave after finishing player treatments and cleaning up. Prosper athletic trainers attend every home athletic event. While they are able to split up the events fairly evenly, because Prosper offers such a variety of athletic programs, they each work a lot of nights.

Much of what athletic trainers do happens behind the scenes, before and/or after the games end, and even during offseason. While many might think football season is the busiest time of year for the sports medicine program, that’s not necessarily the case.

“February is our busiest time of year because every sport except for football, volleyball and cross country, is either at the beginning of their season or end of it,” said Henry, who is in his 15th year as an athletic trainer. “We are spread thin during this time keeping up with all the events and all the different athletes from different sports.”

“I grew up playing sports and being very active,” Hartman says. “I originally wanted to be a physical therapist, but once I became involved in the sports medicine program at my university, I knew that was what I was meant to do. It was the perfect combination for my love of athletics and medicine.”

Both Henry and Hartman, who has been a Certified Athletic Trainer for four years, say the best part of being an Athletic Trainer is seeing the athletes and students achieve their goals.

Please feel free to contact the Athletic Trainers with any questions throughout the year. They can be reached at:

Michael Henry, LAT, ATC, Head Athletic Trainer, mdhenry@prosper-isd.net; Sarah Hartman, MS, LAT, ATC, CES, Assistant Athletic Trainer, sahartman@prosper-isd.net.

Renee Marler | Renee@CedarbrookMedia.com

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