(Press Release provided by Carroll County Schools District, Public Relations)
An expanded partnership between Carroll County Schools and Southern Therapy Services has placed full time athletic trainers at each of the county’s five high schools for the first time this year.
After years of partial coverage provided at no cost by Southern Therapy, this new arrangement will provide at least 35 hours of training coverage from a full time certified athletic trainer at each high school, in addition to complimentary physicals and the morning triage bump and bruise clinic as before.
“We are extremely grateful to Southern Therapy and Carrollton Orthopedic for their decades of support to our student athletes, and we are very pleased to be able to expand this partnership to cover all high school student athletes, regardless of location,” Superintendent Scott Cowart said. “All our athletes deserve high-quality sports medicine care, and this new agreement provides for ongoing care from a professional athletic trainer who will not only treat injuries, but teach our athletes and coaches correct techniques to prevent injury in the first place.”
Certified athletic trainers are multi-skilled healthcare professionals who work with coaches and students on injury prevention, injury care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and wellness education. Athletic training is recognized by the American Medical Association as a healthcare profession, and athletic trainers are certified by the Board of Certification for the Athletic Trainer.
Beginning in the early 1980s, Bo Hamil of Southern Therapy Services and Dr. Ralph Fleck of Carrollton Orthopedic Clinic provided a level of free sports medicine care to student athletes. Over the years, as the need grew for more coverage, Southern Therapy and Carrollton Orthopedic (now called Ortho West) accommodated the increase in demand, including providing free annual sports physicals, free Friday night football coverage, free morning triage bump and bruise clinic, and more.
Over the last five years, the need for onsite athletic training services has continued to increase, and the need for an athletic trainer at each school became apparent to both the school system and Southern Therapy, Assistant Superintendent of Support Services Glen Harding said.
“We are excited about the 40-plus year partnership and this expansion which takes it to the next level in providing our student athletes with the best training to prevent injury and support in the event they are injured,” Harding said.
Under the new agreement approved by the Carroll County Board of Education in May, Southern Therapy has hired certified athletic trainers (ATCs) for each of the county’s five high schools. Four of the ATCs graduated from the high school where they are now serving.
Kyle Huff, ATC (Sports Medicine Director): Bowdon HIgh School
Derek Gibbs ATC: Central High School
Kristen Peterson ATC: Mt. Zion High School
Shelby Byess ATC: Temple High School
Alex Hockersmith ATC: Villa Rica High School
Chris Hamil MHA, ATC (STS COO): Floater/PRN
Athletic trainers are already working at each high school, coordinating with coaches, assisting in the weight room and attending athletic practices and games to prevent, diagnose and treat injury.