Burn Injuries – Turkey Frying Goes Wrong!

Burn Injuries – Know what to do when turkey frying goes wrong!

If you’ve never tried a deep-fried turkey, you don’t know what you are missing out on! In addition to being absolutely delicious, it only takes a fraction of the time to cook as an oven roasted turkey. However, the benefits do come with risk.

According to the National Fire Protection Association when turkey frying goes wrong it causes an average of 5 deaths, 60 injuries, and more than $15 million in property damage each year. So, unless you’ve invited your local Athletic Trainer over for Thanksgiving Dinner, make sure you read below to learn more about the different types of burns and proper first aid to treat burn injuries in the event your turkey frying experiment goes wrong.

For an example of what not to do: Watch this video!

Types of Burns

Classified as first, second, and third degree, appropriate burn treatment will vary depending on the severity and size of the injury.

first degree burn


A first-degree burn is the least severe. Specifically, it occurs when the outer layer of is damaged from touching or picking up a hot object. The skin becomes red at first, and then it eventually dries and peels. Pain from a first-degree burn typically lasts 48-72 hours before subsiding. Another common example of a first-degree burn is a sunburn.


second degree burn


Second-degree burns happen in the same way as a first-degree burn, but they are more severe. With a second-degree burn, damage occurs to the outer layer of skin, as well as parts of the inner layer of skin. Signs of a second-degree burn include blistering, white blotchy patches on the skin, possibly a deep red color, and the area may look wet and shiny. In addition, there could be swelling, and the area will be painful to the touch.

third degree burn


Third-degree burns are the most serious and require urgent medical attention. As with second-degree burns, third-degree burns damage both the inner and outer layers of the skin. Visually, the area may look dry and leathery, or the skin may appear charred, black, yellow, white or brown. Interestingly, a third-degree burn is not always painful at the time of injury. This is because of damage to the nerve endings in the area.


Treat minor burns by cooling the area under running water, or applying a cold, wet compress to the area. If possible, remove anything from the injured area that could restrict circulation such as rings, watches, belts, or tight clothing.  Apply a lotion such as aloe vera gel or other skin moisturizer. This will provide some pain relief and help reduce drying and peeling. Cover the area with a sterile bandage and wrap the area loosely with a clean bandage.

If blisters are present, do not pop them. Popping blisters creates an opening in the skin that can become a source of infection. If a blister does pop, gently clean the area with soap and water, apply an antibiotic ointment, like Neosporin, and cover with a bandage to keep it clean. Taking Tylenol or Ibuprofen can help ease the pain and swelling. Always follow the directions on the bottle for appropriate dosing.


burn first aid

If you can see that the level of damage is deep, covers an area greater than 3 inches, or covers the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks or a major joint, than you need to call 911 and seek immediate medical care. All third-degree burns as well as some second-degree burns, require immediate medical attention.

While waiting for emergency care to arrive, take steps to protect yourself, the patient, and others from further injury. First, ensure the injured person is in a safe area. Next, check the ABC’s – Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. If there is no pulse and the individual is not breathing, send someone to call 911, start CPR and continue until medical help arrives.

AIRWAY – If the person is unconscious, open the airway by putting one hand on the forehead and the other on the patients chin, then tilt the head back while lifting up the chin.

BREATHING – Look to see if the chest is rising and falling with each breath.

CIRCULATION – Check for a pulse on the neck or wrist.

Once you have confirmed that the injured person is conscious and breathing, make sure to remove any items that restrict the injured area such as jewelry or belts. Cover the burned area with a cool, moist bandage or clean cloth, but do not immerse large burns in water. Elevate the injured area, keep the patient warm, and watch for signs of shock until help arrives.

Finally, when planning your deep fried turkey feast, it is a good idea to have a small, well-stocked first aid kit and a fire extinguisher available, and make sure at least one person in your household is CPR trained. If you are not comfortable providing care, or you are not sure what the right course of action is, call 911 or go to your local urgent care or emergency room.

Be safe, give thanks and enjoy your turkey!

Written by: Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer supervisor for The Center Foundation in Bend, OR. Learn more about Stuart HERE.

The Center Foundation provides sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. We do this by placing certified athletic trainers in local high schools to keep kids safe. Learn more about our work HERE.



Deep Fryer Fires


Role of a High School Athletic Trainer

Sisters High School Athletic Trainer Alex Walker on what it means to be a high school athletic trainer. 

What does it mean to have an Athletic Trainer (AT) at your school?

An Athletic Trainer (AT) is an allied healthcare professional who cares for athletes during every practice and game.  Athletic Trainers treat and manageemergent, acute, and chronic injuries and medical conditions through examination, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. Additionally, injury prevention is a key aspect of the work we do. Part of preventing injuries, is working to ensure the conditions that athletes play and practice in are safe. For instance, Athletic Trainers monitor the weather and field conditions in order to ensure that a safe playing environment exists.

Having an AT at your school means you have a highly educated medical professional who does more than tapes ankles and gives out ice bags. The athletic trainer knows the athletes inside and out is there to take care of them if they are injured.

What makes an AT different from other medical professionals?

Athletic Trainers are at the school every day. We are a familiar face for every athlete and are the only medical professional to follow the athlete from the initial point of injury until he/she returns safely to the field, court, or track.

Athletic Trainers help decide whether follow care from a doctor is necessary or not. We guide the athlete through the rehabilitation process following injury and educate the athletes about the recovery process.

What happens when a school does not have an AT?

When a school does not have an Athletic Trainer, they are asking someone other than a trained medical professional to make medical decisions and respond to emergencies on the field. Often times a coach or parent may try to provide the services of an Athletic Trainer. While coaches have first aid and CPR training, they are not healthcare professionals.  In addition, they are being taken away from their primary role and may act with a clouded mind of wanting a specific outcome of a game.

Having an AT at your high school means that you have one designated person on the sidelines whose only job is to ensure the health and safety of the athletes.

Athletic trainers are a vital part of the high school healthcare team. We are there to take care of athletes on and off the field. Our goal is to support the athlete and make sure that their health and wellbeing are top priority. We are medical professionals that want to see every athlete thrive on and off the field.

Learn more about the education and licensing requirements to be an athletic trainer HERE.

Learn more about the importance of athletic trainers at the high school level HERE.

Written by: Alex Walker, ATC athletic trainer for The Center Foundation and Sisters High School in Sisters, OR. Learn more about Alex HERE.

The Center Foundation places dedicated athletic trainers in local high schools to provide sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. Learn more about our work HERE.



The Center Foundation Announces Sandy Visnack As New Executive Director


We are pleased to announce Sandy Visnack as the new Executive Director of The Center Foundation. Visnack brings over two decades of nonprofit management and fundraising experience, working in leadership roles as Executive Director, Development Director and Communications Director for nonprofit organizations serving youth and families in Oregon and Colorado. With her deep commitment to Central Oregon youth and demonstrated leadership, Visnack will help The Center Foundation move forward in its mission to keep kids healthy and safe in Central Oregon.


“The work of The Center Foundation is so important to our community and it is an honor to join this organization,” said Visnack. “I look forward to building upon the strong foundation that has been developed and hope to leverage new opportunities in the upcoming months.”


Visnack holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Vermont and a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Regis University in Colorado. Previous positions held include Director of Communication at NeighborImpact and Executive Director at Bend Endurance Academy. When not cheering on her daughter at mountain biking and cyclocross races, Sandy enjoys mountain biking, skiing and volunteering.


Visnack will succeed Sonja Donohue, who has retired after serving as Executive Director since 2015.


“We are grateful for Sonja’s leadership, stewardship of its programs, and development of a robust and diverse donor base over the past six years,” said Patsy Melville, The Center Foundation Board President. “Her legacy ensures that our local youth athletes will benefit from The Center Foundation’s programs for many years to come.”



Fall Sports are Back!

The 2021-22 school year is underway and fall sports are back! We are excited to kick off a new year and continue to provide athletic trainers to local high schools to keep kids safe. This fall, look for us in your high school athletic training room where we will be on a daily basis providing onsite injury prevention and treatment services for YOUR student athlete.

Caldera Campaign

We are thrilled to announce that our program includes the newest school in Bend, Caldera High School, home of the Wolfpack! This fall, Emily Celner joins our team as the athletic trainer at Caldera. Please stop by the Caldera athletic training room and say “hi” to Emily. Most importantly, THANK YOU to all who contributed to our Caldera Campaign. Your support makes it possible to extend our services to more youth in Central Oregon.

Meet The Team 2021-22

In addition to the new position at Caldera High,  we would like to introduce a few other new member of our team. Danielle Keyes is the new athletic trainer at Summit High School. Tasji Urhausen is joining our team as the athletic trainer at Madras High School. Finally, Austin Michalski is the new athletic trainer at La Pine High School. You can learn more about our entire athletic training team HERE.

Fall Sports are Back with Emily Celner at Caldera HSFall Sports are Back with Danielle Keyes at Summit HSFall Sports are Back with Tasji Urhausen at Madras HSFall Sports are Back with Austin Michalski at La Pine HS


COVID-19 Update

18 months ago, who would have imagined that we would still be in the thralls of a global pandemic today? COVID-19 is just as much a part of daily conversations, protocols and processes now as it was then. Now, more than ever, the role of athletic trainers in schools is crucial to ensuring that youth participating in sports are receiving the services they need to stay healthy. In fact, the ability to safely attend school for education, social connection, and sports participation is critical to the mental and physical health of our youth. The Center Foundation is committed to promoting the health and safety of youth in Central Oregon, even through the pandemic. And, we will continue to do so for the 2021-22 school year and beyond.

In addition, we ensure that students infected by COVID-19 receive proper medical care and screening before returning to sports. As healthcare professionals, our athletic trainers continually advocate for and ensure that safety measures and protocols are followed to keep your young athlete healthy and safe.

Fall Sports are Back

In the meantime, we are excited for the return of fall sports, including football, volleyball, soccer and cross-country. We look forward to seeing you at the field, pitch, court, or finish line cheering on our local youth!

Written by: Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer supervisor for The Center Foundation in Bend, OR. Learn more about Stuart HERE.

The Center Foundation provides sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. We do this by placing certified athletic trainers in local high schools to keep kids safe. Learn more about our work HERE.

Athletic Training Education for 2021

Athletic Trainer Lindsay Hagler

Do you wonder about the credentials of the person rehabbing your young athlete’s strained hamstring? Or, maybe you’re curious about what regulatory oversight there is for the medical professional on the sports field with your high school athlete? What are the athletic training education requirements for 2021, and how does one become an athletic trainer, anyway?


Education for athletic trainers strives to create highly skilled and knowledgeable allied healthcare professionals. To achieve this, athletic training education requires at least a bachelor’s degree from a nationally accredited program. This accreditation ensures that all athletic trainers meet the same minimum competencies required for their job. As an example, athletic trainers receive training in injury evaluation and diagnosis, acute emergency care, therapeutic injury rehabilitation, and injury prevention, among many other topics. Most athletic trainers have exceeded the minimum education requirements. In fact, nearly 70% of all athletic trainers have their master’s degree, as well.

The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) oversees the core skills required for athletic training proficiency. Furthermore, CAATE performs regular audits of accredited programs. This guarantees program compliance. Along with learning the required skills, athletic training students must pass a national exam through the Board of Certification (BOC).


As of 2015, the National Athletic Trainers Association, CAATE, and the BOC, jointly agreed that a master’s degree is the new minimum level of education for entry-level athletic trainers. By 2022, all CAATE accredited programs must transition from an entry-level bachelor’s degree program to an entry-level master’s degree program.  Of course, an exception is in place for the 30% of athletic trainers currently practicing without a master’s level education. In fact, they will be allowed to continue practicing provided they stay current with their certification.


approved CE provider for the athletic trainerIn addition to the national exam, the BOC also ensures that athletic trainers complete at least 50 credit hours of continuing education every two years. This requirement guarantees that athletic trainers remain current in their ability to recognize, treat, and prevent injuries.


Individual states also have requirements of athletic trainers. For example, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) licenses all athletic trainers in the state of Oregon. Licensure ensures that anyone in the state of Oregon performing the duties of an athletic trainer has passed all the required education and certification standards. In fact, they must sign an affidavit verifying that they have kept up with continuing education requirements. The OHA may audit athletic trainers and request that they provide records of compliance with BOC requirements.

As you can see, athletic trainers are subject to many layers of education and oversight. Specifically, they must complete a rigorous course load, pass a national exam, obtain state licensure, provide proof of compliance with agency requirements, and complete 50 credit hours of continuing education every two years. As a result, you get a professional, specialized, and competent allied healthcare professional caring for your young athlete when you need them most.

Please visit if you would like to learn more about athletic trainer educational requirements, CAATE, and the BOC.

Original article written by Michael Estes, MS, ATC, athletic trainer for The Center Foundation and Crook County High School in Prineville, OR, and updated for 2021 by Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS, athletic trainer supervisor. Learn more about Michael and Stuart HERE.

Train Your Brain 2021

Train Your BrainOur grade school outreach program, Train Your Brain, brings brain safety education to third grade classrooms across Central Oregon. Each year, we visit every third grade classroom in Central Oregon, delivering a fun, educational presentation on the importance of preventing brain injuries. We focus on helmet safety, care and fitting of a multi-sport helmet. In addtion, the presentation caps off with our famous melon drop demonstration to highlight the importance of wearing a helmet. At the conclusion of the presentation, we give out and properly fit multi-sport helmets for every kid that needs one. In 2019, we visited more than 30 elementary schools across Central Oregon and gave out over 800 free helmets. We have proudly presented this program for the past 10 years.

Sadly, in 2020 we canceled our tour due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time in 10 years, our third graders did not learn the importance of keeping their brains safe. Which is why, in 2021, we will resume Train Your Brain. By transitioning to a virtual program, we can ensure that kids receive the message about how to prevent brain injuries. Just as important, we make sure that every kid that needs a helmet gets a helmet.

New to Train Your Brain for 2021

This spring, we will include both third and fourth graders in our tour, enabling us to reach the kids that missed out last year. Our new video presentation works in both virtual and live classrooms. Of course, the video will our include famous melon drop demonstration and detailed instructions on how to fit a helmet properly. Teachers will help us deliver helmets to kids that need them.

While we will miss meeting and interacting with the kids in person, we are committed to adapting to the terms of the pandemic and doing our part to #keepkidssafeinsports.

This program is only possible because of the generous support from our program sponsors. Thank you to First Interstate Bank, Summit Medical Group, and Bend Broadband.

Train Your Brain 2021 Sponsors

Written by: Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer supervisor for The Center Foundation in Bend, OR. Learn more about Stuart HERE.

The Center Foundation provides sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. We do this by placing certified athletic trainers in local high schools to keep kids safe. Learn more about our work HERE.


Flu and COVID-19 Exercise Risks

Flu and COVID Exercise Risks

This year’s cold and flu season is unlike any we have experienced before. Specifically, the combination of the annual flu season and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means increased focus on personal and community health. In past years, it was common for people to push through cold and flu symptoms at work and school. However, there is a complicated overlap of symptoms between the cold, flu and COVID-19. This makes it confusing to know for sure which illness you have without a test. Because of the importance of limiting community spread, it is critical that you stay home when you have a runny nose, cough, or sore throat that hasn’t been diagnosed. I think it is safe to say that we should not be seeing a repeat of the Michael Jordan flu game this year!

Exercise with Flu – MAYBE

When it comes to exercising while sick, the ‘above the neck’ rule is what we used in the past. In fact, we previously wrote a blog on this topic HERE. In short, if your symptoms were “above the neck” such as a sore throat, runny nose, or congestion, then it was okay to continue to exercise. Conversely, if your symptoms were below the neck, like a deep or hacking cough, fever, upset stomach, and muscle or body aches it was time to stay home and rest. However, this is not the best approach to take when dealing with a possible COVID-19 infection.

Risks of Flu and COVID

While many of the symptoms of flu and COVID are the same, the health risks are quite different. Data and observation of COVID patients in hospitals show an increased risk of myocarditis compared with other viral infections. Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, which can cause abnormal heart rhythms. It can also limit the ability of the heart to pump blood effectively.

While it seems that most young people who get COVID recover in 5-7 days, there is sometimes a sudden worsening of symptoms during days 7-9. Because of the potential severity of these late-stage symptoms, and the risk of heart damage from myocarditis, doctors recommend full rest and a slow return to activity following a COVID-19 infection.

Exercise with COVID – DON’T

The American Medical Association recommends that very active people who test positive for COVID, but don’t show any symptoms, should rest for two weeks from the date of the test. Athletes who test positive and have symptoms should stop all physical activity for two weeks after all symptoms are gone.

Once the two-week rest period is over, it is important to get clearance from your doctor before returning to activity. This is because of the risk of heart issues. Once cleared, you can start a very gradual return to activity with the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional, like a certified athletic trainer.

Return to Activity

A supervised return to activity should happen over a 5-7 day period. Begin with light cardio, like walking, jogging, or riding a stationary bike. Start by exercising at less than 70% of your maximum heart rate, and not longer than 15 minutes. Over the next 5-7 days, you can gradually increase the duration and intensity of exercise. Each step of the way, you need to complete the activity without any chest pain or tightness, heart palpitations, lightheadedness, or fainting. However, if any of these symptoms do develop, you should go back to your healthcare provider for evaluation before continuing to exercising.

Flu and COVID – Rest is Best

If you have mild symptoms of flu and COVID, but haven’t been tested, you might assume you just have the flu. You might be tempted to push through sickness and continue exercising, especially with mild symptoms. Don’t do it. You may worry about losing hard-earned fitness or letting your team down. Your symptoms might be so mild that you think you are just not that sick. The truth is, the risks outweigh the rewards. In an effort to make minor gains in your fitness, you risk a huge setback from serious illness. In fact, you do more for your future athletic success by sitting out and making a full recovery.

Of course, it is best to do everything you can to avoid getting sick in the first place. Get your flu shot, practice good hygiene, wear your mask, socially distance, eat healthy whole foods, drink lots of water, and get plenty of sleep (Read our blog on the importance of sleep HERE if you missed it).

Written by: Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer supervisor for The Center Foundation in Bend, OR. Learn more about Stuart HERE.

The Center Foundation provides sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. We do this by placing certified athletic trainers in local high schools to keep kids safe. Learn more about our work HERE.


Hull, J., Loosemore, M. and Schwellnus, M., 2020. Respiratory Health In Athletes: Facing The COVID-19 Challenge.
Phelan, D., Kim, J. and Chung, E., 2020. A Game Plan For The Resumption Of Sport And Exercise After Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Infection.
Elliott, N., Martin, R., Heron, N., Elliott, J., Grimstead, D. and Biswas, A., 2020. Infographic. Graduated Return To Play Guidance Following COVID-19 Infection.

Sleep for Health and Performance

Sleep for Health and PerformanceAthletes often search for the newest invention, technique, or ‘secret’ to give them an edge in performance, injury recovery, and injury prevention. While not actually a ‘secret’, there are ways to get an edge that you have direct control over every day.  Sleep is one of those elements. In fact, the benefits of sleep for health and performance are powerful, but often overlooked and ignored.

Benefits of Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do to improve your physical and mental performance. In addition, sleep helps you recover from injuries faster, and improves your overall health and resistance to illness. The benefits to getting a good night’s sleep include:

Improved mental health

  • Getting enough sleep supports the body’s ability to manage stress and anxiety. Lack of sleep is directly associated with depression.

Improved physical health and immune function

  • Cell and muscle growth and repair occur during sleep. Therefore, without sleep your body won’t recover fully from the previous day’s workout.
  • Poor quality sleep is associated with weight gain and obesity in adolescents and young adults.

Improved cognitive performance

  • Lack of sleep reduces your ability to focus and maintain attention, and impairs decision-making and memory.

Lack of Sleep

Studies show that sleep directly affects immune function, and that lack of sleep is associated with increased injuries in adolescent athletes. A study on the effects of sleep deprivation on adolescent athletes found that athletes who got less than 8 hours of sleep a night were 1.7 times more likely to be injured than athletes who slept 8 or more hours a night.

Getting Better Sleep

As you can see, there are many benefits to getting a good night’s sleep. Although, knowing this and doing it are two different things! First, it’s important to understand how much sleep to aim for. Teenagers should get 8-9 hours of sleep a night. Adults should shoot for 6-8 hours of sleep a night.

Second, it is good to have some strategies to make falling asleep as easy as possible. Try some of the following tips to find what works best for you.

  • Use blackout curtains and reduce excess light to make your bedroom as dark as possible.
  • Avoid spending time on your phone, computer, or watching TV at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
  • Create a bedtime routine to start winding down at least 30 minutes before going to bed. For example, your routine might include reading, listening to relaxing music, journaling, or taking a bath.
  • Get the recommended amount of exercise throughout the day. However, avoid intense exercise close to bedtime as it can make it difficult to relax and fall asleep.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages late in the day.
  • Establish a consistent bedtime. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. By sticking to a routine your body can count on, you are more likely to get the recommended amount of sleep.

Sleep for Health

The most important factors associated with health and performance tend to be things that we do every day. As you can see, sleep is one of those things. By working towards our best possible sleep on a daily basis, we improve our health and perform better, both physically and mentally. So, what are you waiting for? Go to bed!

Written by: Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer supervisor for The Center Foundation in Bend, OR. Learn more about Stuart HERE.

The Center Foundation provides sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. We do this by placing certified athletic trainers in local high schools to keep kids safe. Learn more about our work HERE.




Warm Up for Injury Prevention and Performance

soccer players dynamic warm up for injury prevention

Warming up before exercise is one of the easiest and most important things that you can do to reduce your risk of injury. A good warm up for injury prevention can also help improve your performance – it’s a win-win!

What is a Warm Up?

A warm up is a gradual way to get your body ready for the demands of your chosen exercise. When performed properly, the warm up period should last about 10-15 minutes. In addition, it should be specific for your chosen activity. In other words, the exercises and stretches you include in your warm up should target the same muscles and areas of the body that your chosen activity will use.

Purpose of a Warm Up

A well-designed warm up functions to prepare you, mentally and physically, for the demands of the sports activity you are performing. It does this by increasing blood flow to your muscles, increasing body temperature, and increasing your heart rate. In addition, a warm up improves range of motion by stretching the muscles that you will be using for your activity. Together, this gets your body ready to perform its best and decreases your risk of injury.

Examples of Warm Ups

For example, if you are planning to go for a run, your warm up should include dynamic lower-body stretches, like walking lunges and leg swings.  Follow this with a light activity to get your heart rate up, like jumping jacks or squat jumps. Alternatively, if you are planning to lift weights for your upper body, your warm up may start with several minutes on a rowing machine. Follow that with some dynamic arm exercises such as arms swings and some D2 shoulder swings.  Continue the warm up by doing a few reps of your lift with no weight on the bar. After that, progressively increase the weight as you build up to your target.

walking lunge warm up

Likewise, if you are getting ready to play a sport, whether in practice or a game, your warm up should target the specific muscles that you will be using. Start slow and gradually progress throughout your warm up to the desired intensity of the sports activity. In addition, your warm up is a great opportunity to build in repetition for desired movement skills. You can also include targeted drills to improve mobility. More about that in a future blog!

After your warm up, you are ready to move into your planned activity. If you still have some tight areas in your body, take a few more moments to stretch lightly. About 15-20 seconds at a time for a specific area is enough. However, don’t spend so much time stretching that you cool down and need to do another warm up! After your workout, while your body is still warm, is the ideal time to do a thorough stretching routine to cool down. We will cover the cool down in another article.

Warm Up for Injury Prevention

So what are you waiting for? It only takes about 10 minutes, and it doesn’t need to be complicated. A simple warm up routine that is easy to remember is best. Prevent injuries and improve performance by adding a warm up to your exercise routine today!

Written by: Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer supervisor for The Center Foundation in Bend, OR. Learn more about Stuart HERE.

The Center Foundation provides sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. We do this by placing certified athletic trainers in local high schools to keep kids safe. Learn more about our work HERE.




Keeping Your Kids Safe in Sports

2020-21 Athletic Training Team for The Center FoundationSchools are resuming in-person sports activities, and our athletic trainers are excited to get back to work protecting young athletes. However, we know that there are concerns about COVID-19. As a parent, it’s natural to be anxious about the safety of your child. For this reason, we want you to know that our team is committed to keeping your kids safe and healthy.

Keep reading to learn how we are working together to protect your child from exposure to COVID-19.

Oregon Health Authority & Oregon School Activities Association

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Sports Activities Association (OSAA) offer a framework of required policies for all schools wishing to participate in athletic events during this time. In fact, the Oregon Health Authority recognizes that “Participation in physical activity is vital to the health and well-being of young people.” Therefore, we fully support these policies to steer safe sports participation. You can find more information about the specific policies here at OHA COVID Policies and OSAA Coronavirus.

How we are Keeping Your Kids Safe

Over the summer months, our athletic trainers and the school districts of Bend-La Pine, Sisters, Crook County, and Jefferson County collaborated to develop policies and procedures to ensure safe sports participation. In addition, we are working closely with the local school districts to ensure that we follow all health and safety initiatives.

Our athletic trainers are adopting the following measures keep your kids safe.

  • Face masks worn at all times by athletic trainers and students while giving or receiving treatment.
  • Hands washed/sanitized between every interaction with students.
  • Tables, counters, and equipment disinfected before and after every use.
  • All athlete interactions/encounters carefully logged to aid in contact tracing in the event of a positive case of COVID-19 among student athletes.
  • Educate parents, coaches, and student athletes on the importance of following health and safety policies, the risks associated with sports participation during COVID-19, and strategies to minimize those risks.

In addition, our athletic trainers will be working with schools to identify and quickly respond to positive cases and possible exposures. This will help minimize the spread of the disease. Our goal is to keep everyone safe and avoid another shutdown of sports and schools.

How You Can Help

Despite all of these necessary measures, there is still risk associated with returning to in-person sports. Admittedly, there is no way to remove risk entirely, other than abstaining from sports altogether. However, as parents there are a few things your child can do to help protect themselves, your family, and others.

  • Stay home if sick. This cannot be overstated. In fact, it is true for any symptoms of illness, but especially important if your child has
    • symptoms of COVID-19,
    • been diagnosed,
    • is waiting for test results,
    • or been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Maintain social distancing. This means your child should stay at least 6 feet from other players whenever possible.
  • Wear a face mask. Yes, even while exercising. If you missed it, read our previous blog about exercising while wearing a facemask for some helpful tips.
  • Bring your own water bottle. Instruct your child to bring a personal water bottle. Remind them not to share it or to drink from other people’s water bottles.
  • Wash your hands with soap and hot water regularly.
  • Practice good hygiene. Remind your child to avoid touching mouth, nose, or eyes with their hands. In addition, avoid spitting, and cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow. And, always remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer afterwards after a sneeze or cough.
  • Don’t share equipment. While this is not always possible, your child should try to minimize sharing of equipment such as helmets, gloves, and bats.

Keeping Your Kids Safe Together

We know how important physical activity and sports participation is for the health and happiness of kids. Therefore, remember that we are all in this together and follow the above precautions. Help us ensure that your kids continue to play the sports they love. By working together, we reduce the risk of illness and speed up a return to normal life.

Below are some additional resources and references to help you as your children go back to playing sports during the pandemic.

Written by: Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer supervisor for The Center Foundation in Bend, OR. Learn more about Stuart HERE.

The Center Foundation provides sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. We do this by placing certified athletic trainers in local high schools to keep kids safe. Learn more about our work HERE.


Considerations for Youth Sports – CDC
Understanding Risk Related to COVID-19 and Youth Sports
Safety Checklist For Sports Participation During COVID-19
Cloth Face Coverings in Youth Sport
Playing Sports –COVID 19 CDC