“The job as a certified athletic trainer has changed tremendously since I started,” said Lance Michel, head athletic trainer at Hamilton High School in Chandler.
Michel has been at the high school for 17 years. He helps student-athletes get back to their sport after suffering an injury.
“They’re all working hard and they want to go out and compete and have fun,” Michel said.
Michel will be getting help this year from OrthoArizona and Dignity Health.
The two groups are providing sports medicine services at the five high schools and five junior high schools in the Chandler Unified School District.
OrthoArizona and Dignity Health have a similar program in the Gilbert Public Schools.
“The whole idea behind this program is elevating that level of care to the same level that we deliver to Division I universities or even the professional teams,” said Dr. Shelden Martin, OrthoArizona sports medicine specialist.
Martin will lead the sports medicine program team. He and four other physicians will be assigned to Hamilton, Basha, Casteel, Chandler and Perry high schools. Dignity Health will provide the athletic trainers.
“It involves not just the team physicians on the sidelines with the athletic trainer for all of the games, but it also involves a lot of education,” Martin said.
Education, sports physicals and prevention methods are just a few of the services they will offer.
“A lot of times these patients or athletes will have an injury and their parents don’t necessarily know where to take them,” Martin said. “Maybe they’re in a sport like cross country or volleyball that doesn’t necessarily have the athletic trainer at that game or practice and the injury doesn’t get recognized until the athlete gets home and their parents notice they’re limping.
“This program can help prevent that from happening,” Martin continued.
This includes offering a walk-in injury clinic at a new OrthoArizona location near the Dignity Health Chandler Regional Medical Center.
“This walk-in injury clinic from 7 to 8 a.m. every day, Monday–Friday, is perfect for that scenario because now those parents will know that there is a place they can take them where they will be getting appropriate diagnosis and treatment by orthopedic surgeons,” Martin said.
These are sports medicine services that can be a game changer.
“It’s great to have that accessibility because, once again, sports don’t stop,” Michel said.
“It’s 100 mph full throttle all the time and they [OrthoArizona and Dignity Health] understand the commitment that it takes and that’s what I like about it.
“From what I can see, we’re going to have a great relationship,” Michel said.