Sports Medicine Program
Encouraging physical activity.
Emphasizing wellness and safety.
Promoting the health and safety of kids through access to sports medicine services and education is our mission. To accomplish this, we place certified athletic trainers in area high schools. This is the heart of our Sports Medicine Program. Athletic training services include injury prevention, clinical recognition and assessment, emergency care, injury treatment, and rehabilitation. In addition, athletic trainers educate students, parents and coaches on sports safety and injury prevention. As the region’s only nonprofit dedicated to providing sports medicine services, we raise more than $500,000 annually. With these funds, our athletic trainers serve in eight high schools with more than 7,000 students and over 760 sporting events per year.
Benefits of Sports Participation
Studies show that student involvement in sports is key to their overall physical, social, and educational development. Students who play sports learn the importance of working in teams and collaborating, which helps them succeed later in life. Sports activities increase student success in academics, social interaction, and high school completion. Furthermore, athletic participation decreases tobacco use, drug abuse, and obesity.
The Need for Athletic Trainers
For these reasons, we feel it is important to keep students participating in athletics, as well as keeping them safe. Coaches readily state that they are unqualified to care for injured athletes. They need The Center Foundation’s Sports Medicine Program and professional medical staff to provide immediate and on-going care. Moreover, research demonstrates that schools with certified athletic trainers have lower serious injury rates, better concussion identification rates, and faster return to play rates.
Concussion identification and management is a critical element in sports safety. Therefore, in 2000, The Center Foundation became the first organization west of the Mississippi to adopt and implement the nationally recognized University of Pittsburgh’s ImPACT Concussion Program. Since then, we have conducted nearly 15,000 baseline tests and managed over 1,800 concussions for Central Oregon high school athletes. Our athletic trainers administer concussion baseline tests at school during the athlete’s freshman and junior years. They treat concussed athletes, communicate regularly with coaches and parents, and make appropriate referrals to other medical professionals as needed. Finally, physicians and athletic trainers work closely to ensure that concussed athletes recover fully before they are released to return to play. This reduces the risk of Second Impact Syndrome – a dangerous, and potentially fatal, second concussion that occurs before the athlete is fully recovered.
Helping our Communities
Our Sports Medicine Program places athletic trainers in the Bend-La Pine, Sisters, Culver, Jefferson, and Crook County high schools. They keep kids safe at no cost to the coaches, students, or families they serve. Additionally, The Center Foundation’s presence enables students who lack medical insurance to receive care. Financially struggling schools also depend on The Center Foundation to care for their student athletes.
It is clear to us that certified athletic trainers are the key to keeping young athletes safe and participating in the sports they love. We are immensely proud of our high school Sports Medicine Program and the work of our athletic trainers in communities across Central Oregon.
“As a parent who has benefited from the services of an athletic trainer, I want to say, ‘Thank you for a superb program.’ He was there when my daughter fell on hurdles and broke her arm. In the Emergency Department at St. Charles, they said that his quick action kept the break from becoming unstable.”
—Parent of youth athlete