Information for Parents
What is an Athletic Trainer?
According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), an athletic trainer (AT) is a highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who provides preventative services, emergency care, clinical examination and diagnosis, therapeutic intervention, and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions. Athletic trainers must graduate from an accredited baccalaureate or master’s program, pass a comprehensive board certification exam, maintain a state healthcare license, and keep knowledge and skills current by participating in continuing education. Athletic trainers work under the direction of physicians as prescribed by state licensure statutes, providing medical services to a variety of active patient populations within many job settings, not just athletics. For more detailed information about athletic trainers, click here.
When to see the Athletic Trainer?
Injuries do and will occur in sport. Statistics reveal that 90% of student-athletes report having sustained at least one sports-related injury during their career. In the event an injury does occur, your athletic trainer is available to help evaluate, diagnose, and treat your injury. They can also refer you to advanced medical care if necessary. Early communication with the athletic trainer is crucial in expediting the recovery process.
What if I have to go to the doctor?
If it is determined that a doctor’s visit is necessary, the athletic trainer will contact a parent/guardian to discuss reasoning and options. Because of the close working relationship between your athletic trainer and area providers, you may benefit from faster access to orthopedists, physical therapists, or other specialists (often within 24-48 hours). Your athletic trainer will explain the expedited scheduling process when necessary.
If you choose to visit a physician or other health care processional before seeing the athletic trainer, please communicate this to your athletic trainer. This allows the athletic trainer to collaborate with your provider to provide the best care for a safe recovery and return to sport.
Please note: If a student-athlete sees a physician for any reason (excluding well care) while in-season, you MUST provide the athletic trainer with a physician-signed note detailing the nature of the visit, any resulting restrictions or limitations, and/or clearance to return to sport. If a note is not received, the student-athlete will not be allowed to return to sport until a note can be obtained. This helps to ensures the health and safety of the student-athlete.
Does the school help cover expenses for athletic injuries?
If an injury occurs as a result of athletic participation at Sparta High School, the school district provides a secondary insurance policy to help offset the costs that may be incurred as a result. This policy is designed to cover excess expenses not covered by the student-athlete's primary HMO or PPO plan (exceptions apply). It will not duplicate expenses paid or payable by any other insurance or plan.
Head injuries, such as concussions, resulting from MHSAA athletic participation also carry a tertiary insurance plan provided by the MHSAA. This plan, in conjunction with your primary insurance and the school’s accident policy, covers 100% of all medical expenses specifically related to the head injury.
Parents must request these claim form, when applicable, from the school athletic trainer. Following a formal request, claim forms will be sent home to be completed and submitted to the insurer by a parent/guardian. Parents should stay in contact with the school athletic trainer throughout the injury process to help them be aware of additional medical services and your individual insurance needs. It is important to note that each of these policies are secondary to your primary insurance. Filing a claim also does not guarantee coverage.
Click here for more information on available secondary insurance policies.
What if the injury occurs when the athletic trainer cannot be reached?
If the injury was sustained at an away event, off-site practice, or during a time when the athletic trainer is unavailable, please use your best judgement for whether to seek immediate care or wait until the next available day to see the athletic trainer.
If you choose to seek immediate care, use the guide below to help determine which facility is best suited to treat the injury.
If you decide the injury is mild enough to wait to see the athletic trainer at their next availability, please follow the P.E.A.C.E guidelines until your student-athlete can be seen.
Protect — Protect the injury by restricting movement for one to three days to minimize bleeding, prevent swelling, and reduce risk of aggravating it.
Elevate — Elevate the limb higher than the heart to promote fluid flow out of the injured tissue, which can reduce swelling.
Avoid — Avoid anti-inflammatory pain relievers, as research has shown they may be detrimental to long-term tissue healing. Cryotherapy, such as ice, may disrupt healing as well.
Compression — Compress the area by applying pressure with an ACE wrap to reduce swelling.
Educate — Contact your school athletic trainer to determine if and when active recovery techniques, such as therapeutic rehabilitation, can be started. Your athletic trainer can send a rehabilitation exercises program directly to your email.
Please note, applying heat to an acute injury (less than 72 hours old) can exacerbate the injury and increase healing time. Please ask your athletic trainer before applying heat to an injury.