High School Athletic Trainer Resigns; Search For Suitable Successor Is Ongoing
By: Alex Scofield
Whether or not they realize it, dedicated Red Sox fans have some understanding of the medical term “peroneal tendon subluxation.”
It was the injury Curt Schilling battled when he pitched Game 6 of the 2004 American League Championship Series, now better known as “The Bloody Sock Game.”
Frank E. Green recognized subluxation without the benefit of extreme camera close-ups or commentary from Fox network sports broadcasters. When Christopher T. Montt, a Sandwich High School 2009 graduate, injured his ankle wrestling, Mr. Green, then the high school’s athletic trainer, diagnosed Christopher’s injury on the spot as subluxation, and in need of further medical attention.
“He gave an assessment of what he thought it was,” recalled Christopher’s mother, Lisa P. Montt. “His assessment was right on—accurate and astute.”
Mr. Green’s assessment of Christopher’s injury is indicative of a staff athletic trainer’s value to a high school with a vibrant sports program.
Through a combination of Massachusetts statute and Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) regulations, schools are required to provide medical coverage on-site when they host football games, ice hockey games, or playoff games for any varsity sport.
For other sports, like wrestling, a trainer’s presence is not required at matches or practices, but is commonplace.
Ms. Montt said that when her daughter played junior varsity softball, Mr. Green kept tabs on all of the springtime sports teams during games and practices.
“He would take the golf cart and move from field to field,” Ms. Montt said. “He went outside of the trainer’s job requirements.”
Therein lies the dilemma at SHS, which has been without a staff athletic trainer since Mr. Green resigned from the position on October 5, following an impasse with school administrators over building access.
This year, SHS became the last of the four Sandwich public schools to lock its doors and establish a buzz-in system. Members of a school safety committee, who met routinely to discuss forthcoming issues posed by the new system, determined the short list of those who would receive outside master keys, a list that did not include the athletic trainer. Instead, the trainer would be provided a key each day, and return it at the end of the day. In an October 5 e-mail announcing his resignation, Mr. Green said his job necessitated permanent access to the school building, particularly in emergencies, and the new system did not work on weekends.
Sandwich Schools Superintendent Mary Ellen Johnson and SHS Principal Ellin S. Booras both said that the security committee had tried to accommodate Mr. Green’s requests, and provide all the access necessary for an athletic trainer to perform his or her job.
“That was a group decision,” Dr. Johnson said about the security committee. “They were all in agreement.”
In the month since Mr. Green’s resignation, SHS has worked with Sandwich Fire Prevention Officer John J. Burke to provide EMT coverage for football games, said Ms. Booras. Martin L. Cosgrove, SHS athletic director, said he has been able to bring in trainers from other area schools to cover the games.
But school administrators interviewed for this article were in agreement that merely staying compliant is not enough.
“We’ve grown accustomed, because we think it is a priority, to having medical coverage [on staff]... You don’t realize what you have until you’ve lost it,” Mr. Cosgrove said.
At Sandwich, as at a majority of area high schools, the trainer is customarily a familiar part of student-athletes’ day-to-day lives. A trainer’s presence at practice is a more proactive way of addressing the potential for sports-related injuries than reacting to in-game injuries, said Ms. Booras.
“Having a trainer who is familiar with students and their medical history is crucial,” Mr. Cosgrove continued. “Frank knew all the athletes and teams, and I think that’s a priority for us. In his absence, that connection has been lost a little bit.”
“We would all like to have someone who knows the students,” said Dr. Johnson.
Mr. Cosgrove said he has heard from plenty of student-athletes’ parents over the past month, mostly inquiries as to whether a successor might be coming.
“They’ve been respectful,” Mr. Cosgrove said. “I hope they understand we’re doing everything we can.”
Regarding the winter season, Mr. Cosgrove said he is in discussion with somebody who can cover the ice hockey games, as required.
Beyond that, Dr. Johnson said that the schools administration is in the process of revising the athletic trainer’s job description, making it one in which it is a part-time staff position. As it currently stands, the athletic trainer is a contract position, paid on an hourly basis.
Mr. Green now works part time with the athletic training staff at Barnstable High School. Of Sandwich High School, he said this week, “It is a wonderful school, with wonderful kids, and I had no disputes with the high school or any of its people.”
As for SHS, Ms. Booras said, “We’re looking forward to finding a candidate with the same high standards of care that we had in Mr. Green.”
2 Responses to "High School Athletic Trainer Resigns; Search For Suitable Successor Is Ongoing"
Leave a Reply
In order to comment you need to be logged in.