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Students learning how to treat injured athletes on the high school sports field

“We’re bringing together the student athletic trainers, the head school athletic trainers, Dignity Health athletic trainers, team physicians and emergency medical technicians, who would potentially take care of a high school athlete that is injured on the field of play,” said Dr. Matt Hansen, OrthoArizona sports medicine specialist.

All of these medical professionals and students are taking part in the second annual Field to Emergency Room event at Hamilton High School in Chandler.

They’re running through drills on how to work together when a student-athlete has injured his or her spine or other emergency situations on the sports field in the Gilbert Public Schools and the Chandler Unified School District.

“You could potentially take someone who has a bad injury and make it worse if we don’t treat them correctly,” Hansen said.

Hansen is the medical director of the sports medicine program in both school districts.

The program kicked off in Gilbert first and now Chandler this fall.

“Our sports medicine program between Dignity Health and OrthoArizona began about three years ago,” Hansen said. “We wanted to raise the level of care to something similar that you would have at a collegiate level.”

OrthoArizona physicians and Dignity Health athletic trainers work with the high school medical staff to make sure each student-athlete is given the best possible care. This includes hosting educational events like this one, providing sports physicals, being on the field during games and holding special office hours for student-athletes.

“It’s good for them to get hands on, so they understand the demands that we’re under when caring for that athlete,” Gary Cohen said. Cohen is with Dignity Health and is the head athletic trainer at Casteel High School in Chandler.

He likes the partnership with the orthopedic physicians and working with the student-athletes.

“They love having us on the sidelines and being able to identify things that might not be an injury necessarily, but we’re identifying that predisposed risk,” Cohen said.

“We’re getting an athletic trainer that is trained in all the latest techniques and protocols and putting them into the schools, so that all of these athletes at these schools have access to that trainer and those trainers are directing the athletes who are injured into our offices,” said Dr. Shelden Martin, OrthoArizona sports medicine specialist.

Martin is overseeing the Chandler sports medicine program. He believes the sports program they have put in place does much more than treat student-athletes’ injuries.

“Our job goes beyond fixing their injury surgically,” Martin said. “It’s counseling and coaching them, so to speak, and really setting their expectations and what to expect. You develop a bond in that relationship and that’s what it’s all about for us as the orthopedic surgeons.”