Sports Injuries and COVID Safety: The New Roles of Athletic Trainers
Athletic Trainers have had to adapt their roles due to COVID-19 to prepare and execute a safe return to sports at schools. Learn more about what they are doing to keep your student-athletes safe, while also allowing them to return to the sports they love.
With the return to athletics for schools in Montgomery County, many families are asking: how do I know that my child is safe? One of the roles tasked with that responsibility is that of the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Athletic Trainers (ATCs). In addition to their core specialty of sports injury prevention and treatment, ATCs have been working harder than ever to help mitigate the risk of COVID-19 as students return to athletics.
So, let’s talk about what they are doing to keep your student-athlete safe, while also allowing them to return to the sport they love.
How are ATCs Helping to Keep my Child Safe?
Athletic Trainers have had to adapt their roles as healthcare professionals since the onset of COVID-19 to help ensure student-athletes and coaches could return safely to their respective schools when it was time.
In Montgomery County, Athletic Trainers have been working alongside their Athletic Specialists to prepare comprehensive check-in forms for athletes and coaches to complete each day they show up for sports on campus. This form allows the ATC, Athletic Specialist, school administration, MCPS Athletics, and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to know who can and can’t safely participate.
By completing this form each day, the data can be used to track responses and determine who may have been exposed in the event of a COVID-positive case. And since so many students have smartphones and other devices, ATCs have also assisted in creating QR codes for easier accessibility and submission of the check-in form electronically.
What if My Student-Athlete Gets Hurt?
The Athletic Trainer’s role as the primary sports medicine professional has not changed! ATCs are always available to treat injuries and conditions as they occur. However, ATCs have had to make many adjustments to operations before, during, and after they treat student-athletes to keep them safe. These activities include:
- Cleaning surfaces and equipment for treatment and rehabilitation after each use.
- Wearing medical-grade masks and eye protection.
- Regular handwashing and sanitizing after each interaction.
- Allowing only 1 student-athlete per ATC for treatments.
- Adapting the Athletic Training Room for an outside environment instead of inside the school.
- Keeping accurate records of patient interactions with ATC.
What if my Student-Athlete Gets COVID?
Worst-case scenario, a student-athlete contracts COVID-19. In this event, the ATC’s role is to communicate positive cases and associated details to their Athletic Specialist, following the process outlined by the state of Maryland. The information flows up the chain to MCPS Athletics and DHHS for contact tracing. Once determined who was in contact with this positive case, DHHS notifies those individuals and begins their quarantine.
As you can see, Athletic Trainers in MCPS play a vital role and are committed to not only keeping our student-athletes safe from injury but also safe from COVID-19.
If you or your child has any questions about safety measures being taken during the return to athletics, please feel free to contact Darin Moore, Adventist HealthCare Lead Athletic Trainer, at 240-864-6172 or contact your local high school’s Athletic Department.