Not Just for Athletes

Last fall, athletic trainers from Daviess Community Hospital began working with student athletes not only from Washington Schools but Barr-Reeve and North Daviess as well. From attending practices, where 62 percent of all sports injuries actually take place, to being on the sidelines during contests, the three trainers working with youth in the community stayed busy.

Scott Sell, director of athletic training and outreach services at DCH, said only 37 percent of high schools in the United States offer full-time athletic trainers.

“Schools without an athletic trainer have shown incident of injury two times greater than those schools with an athletic trainer,” said Sell, who said March has been recognized by Mayor Joe Wellman as National Athletic Training Month. “There are high schools in Daviess County and surrounding counties that that unfortunately do not have an athletic trainer onsite to provide provide medical care to those student athletes and the school community.”

Sell said while DCH will continue to work with those schools to have an athletic trainer present, he’s proud of the success of the program.

“It’s exciting to see our athletic training presence continue to expand throughout Daviess and surrounding counties,” he said.

Wellman said the city was glad to support the hospital in its endeavors.

“We’re happy to be able to support the hospital in the growing field of athletic training,” said Wellman.

The benefits

Dr. Jess Brower, a chiropractic physician with DCH, said having certified athletic trainers available for youth sports programs and high school athletics is now a necessity for from both a safety and success standpoint.

“Youth sports provide many benefits for participants but it’s not without risk of injury,” Brower said. “Unfortunately, injury rates are increasing secondary to overuse due to year-round play or intensive programs.”

Brower said children and teens are more susceptible to these types of injuries, but with oversight and assistance from athletic trainers, coaches, and administrators, parents can be more confident in knowing their athletes are performing in safer programming utilizing appropriate preventative strategies.

“Having fewer injuries obviously translates into a better likelihood of team or individual success,” he said, adding he has seen the benefits of working with a certified athletic trainer since working with Brandy Ramaj Jewett, certified athletic trainer for North Daviess Schools, for the last year or so. Jewett also works as a clinical assistant in Brower’s office.

But when injuries do occur, having those athletic trainers on hand can help with appropriate assessment, management and return to play protocols.

“With every injury I evaluate, I always ask the question of whether or not the condition warrants evaluation and care by a physician,” said Jewett, adding being an athletic trainer is a unique position in that she is a tool the students can utilize and so far, she’s stayed busy. “I think this is what makes an athletic trainer most beneficial for high school athletics. I am able to develop my own diagnosis of an athlete’s condition and then discuss the different options with the athletes and his or her parents, whether it be continuing rehab with me or setting up an appointment with Dr. Brower, Dr. Marcus Thorne or another healthcare professional.”

Jewett, a former high school athlete, said she tries to explain the injury and the therapy process to the athlete to make sure they have an active role in the care that is provided and an understanding of why it’s important to not rush back to participating before they are ready.

“I want my athletes to know they are the most important part of healing,” she said. “I want them to be empowered to better themselves versus going through the motions and of rehab just because I told them to.”

Having the new CORE Center, Jewett said, has also been beneficial to the athletes she works with.

“I communicate with both offices daily and should an athlete sustain an injury after office hours, I am still able to consult with either office should I deem it necessary,” she said, adding the athletes are also able to see Drs. Brower and Thorne quickly if need be.

But it’s not only Jewett’s student athletes who yield the benefits. Brower said his patients benefit from working with Jewett as well.

“From a clinical standpoint, Brandy is an idea candidate to help with therapy, rehabilitation and other clinical duties which allow me to be more efficient and I believe provide better patient care overall,” said Brower adding he wouldn’t want to go back to working without Jewett and he believes the same would be true for any certified athletic trainer in a chiropractic, therapy or orthopedic facility.

Jill Wier, office coordinator for the CORE Center said having Jewett in the physician practice not only improves productivity but also patient outcomes and satisfaction.

“Brandy continues to help move Dr. Brower’s patients more effectively through their appointments,” said Weir, adding Jewett is also accessible to Thorne and and Nurse Practitioner Allie Krieger. “While she provides rehabilitation instruction and patient education, with athletes, she is also available for others.”

Weir said as far as having athletic trainers in the schools goes, it can be a cost saving measure sometimes too.

“A cost savings may arise from the avoidance of an unnecessary physician visit or emergency department visit,” said Weir, who said she she sees the dedication in Jewett.

“I personally see that dedication when she talks about her ‘her team’ and ‘her athletes’ with a smile. I’m certain she is having a positive impact on their lives.”

Barr-Reeve Athletic Director Aaron Ash said DCH has been a great partner for the school and has provided athletes with scheduled services twice a week.

“I’ve received positive feedback from coaches, parents and athletes on the availability and dedication our athletic trainer, Dave Graber, has shown,” said Ash.

Helping the Viking athletes is something Graber said he enjoys as well.

“In 20 years of covering Barr-Reeve athletics, the enjoyment I have received from helping others has never faded,” said Graber, who is also director of rehab therapies for DCH.

“Athletic training is the perfect platform to improve the health of our student athletes through prevention, education and treatment for the return to full function.”

Washington Community Schools Athletic Trainer Misty Petro said she too, enjoys working with the students.

“Working at WHS is a pleasure,” she said. “I enjoy working with all the athletes, coaches and parents in the school system.”

Athletic training as also allowed Brandon Johnson, DCH’s lead occupational therapist to blend his interests.

“It’s allowed me to integrate my interest in the medical field and health sciences with my love for sports and passion to help people in their recovery,” he said, adding he’s had the opportunity to work with athletes in nearly every level of sport as well as the general public.

“Athletic trainers are an integral part of the allied health profession. By allied, I mean a skilled healthcare provider working right alongside physicians, physical and occupational therapists and other healthcare providers to provide preventative, emergency and rehabilitative care for all populations not only athletes.”

Not all athletes wear jerseys

But Sell is quick to point out that athletic training services aren’t just for athletes.

“We see cases where those in the workforce have the same types of injuries as athletes,” said Sell, adding the athletic training program can benefit many. “Some of the same motions used in sports are the same as those we use for other tasks.”

Last year, DCH was designated as one of five pilot sites that allows for athletic trainers to receive reimbursement from third party payers for services that those payers must typically reimburse, something Sell is quite proud of.

“Athletic trainers are able to treat the patient from the initial evaluation through discharge and reimburse for those services alongside their physical and occupational therapy colleagues,” he said.

Sell said the program continues to expand its focus to better benefit the community.

“As a department, we continue to find new and unique ways to utilize the skill set of our athletic trainers,” said Sell, adding the department began offering a free walk-in clinic for Daviess County Family YMCA members who need assessment, treatment and preventative strategies last year.

That clinic, Sell said, is offered the first and third Tuesday of each month from 4:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. and on the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 8:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.

“We’ve had a great response to the clinic so far,” said Sell, adding the clinics have been full recently and it’s best to set up an appointment.

DCH athletic trainers have also been conducting ergonomic assessments for businesses as well.

“‘Your protection is our priority’ is the theme for National Athletic Training Month and I think that’s very true,” said Sell, who said business and organizations interested in the ergonomic assessments can contact the CORE Center. “You, the public and your healthcare, is a priority.”

Fore more information on the services provided by DCH athletic trainers, contact Sell at 812-254-2663 ext. 2016

*Article written by Lindsey Owens and provided by the Washington Times Herald. Visit their website at for more articles!