Sidelined: Athletic Trainers and Ambulances


SPRINGFIELD, Mo — “Being prepared for the worst, hoping for the best,” said Jim Raynor.

In the world of emergency medicine, seconds are vital.

“The survival rates dramatically increase if you can apply that within 2 minutes,” said Raynor

Jim Raynor supervises the Mercy Sports Medicine Program, which services Springfield Public Schools at their athletic contests.

“It’s very well coordinated from the athletic trainer, to the EMS, to the Emergency Department,” said Raynor.

Every summer, Mercy and Cox train for the worst of athletic injuries. The level of care may seem standard here in the Ozarks, but state-wide statistics prove that it’s more of a luxury.

According to MSHSAA’s 2014-15 Youth Sports Brain Injury Report, 124 high schools in the Show-Me State reported having ambulances at all levels of football competition. 37% had ambulances at Varsity games only, and 22% of schools in Missouri, reported not having ambulances at any level of football competition.

“I don’t think we can actually put a price tag on someone’s health, well being, and life if we don’t attempt to provide as much care and provision as possible,” said Raynor.

MSHSAA’s also reported in 2015, that only 27% of schools in Missouri have full time trainers at their games and practices. 30% of the schools responding to the annual survey, don’t have trainers at all, and rely upon the coaches and the administration to provide on-site medical treatment.

In 2014, MSHSAA changed it by-laws, requiring all athletic coaches to be First Aid and CPR Certified. 

“In the state of Missouri, everyone has to be certified,” said Harvey Richards.

Harvey Richards is the Associate Executive Director for the Missouri High School Activities Association.

“I think every state would like to see it at 100% but there has to be a lot of things done before that can happen.” //// “I would love to see some kind of medical personnel at every practice and every contest for every sport,” said Harvey Richards.

“I feel sympathy for coaches that have to focus on a game, their job is to win the game and do their best to win and support their kids making sure they have success on the field,” said Dr. Shannon Woods.

Dr. Shannon Woods is the Medical Director for Sports Medicine at Cox Health, which services surrounding schools like Republic, Nixa, and Fair Grove.

“On top of that, they have to be a medical personnel for their players. It’s a tough situation to be in whether they have training or not,” said Woods.

“If a school can afford to team up with a healthcare institution, or find a way through booster clubs to get an athletic trainer, it’s money well spent.”

“I don’t believe it’s a luxury anymore,” said Jim Raynor. It’s a reality and it’s a reality that we as a society need to grab a hold of.”

“This is not a United States issue. This is not a football issue. This is an athletics issue,” said Jim Raynor.

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