ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Many consider them the unsung heroes of an high school athletic program. They are behind the scenes people and that is ok with them. These peeps you may ask are athletic trainers. An athletic trainer is a certified and licensed health care professional who practices in the field of sports medicine.
Jeanne Brown is in her 20th year as Patrick Henry’s head athletic trainer. Athletic trainers are nothing new at PH as the school was the first in the area to have a full time athletic trainer back in the mid 1980’s. What was looked upon as a luxury back then, is now a requirement at all schools. “I think with your most experienced and most successful programs, you are going to see a good athletic trainer behind them because if your athlete gets hurt and you have to farm out what we do somebody else it could take twice as long to get that athlete back,” said Brown.
An athletic trainer works under the direction of a physician. “We are very lucky at PH because we have a fantastic physician named Doctor Chris John of Carilion. They are very good to get our athletes in. He has been with our program now for 18 years. We are starting our 18th year together. I don’t know what we would do without them. The trust between athletic trainers and athletes and also parents to have the faith to get the athletes back is huge,” said Brown.
If you are a PH athlete, Brown says do not call her athletic training staff water boys or water girls…that’s a no-no. “My kids if they get called a water boy or a water girl, the kid will get a little bit of an ear full from me. Because they do much more than that. They wrap and tape basic injuries. Fingers, thumbs and wrists and so on. They are there to make sure all of the water is refilled and filled and so on. We are a hard working breed. We will do what ever it takes for our athletes for sure,” said Brown.
Athletic training has been recognized by the American Medical Association as an allied health care profession since 1990. Allied health care professionals include dental hygienists, dietitians, physical therapists, and speech language pathologists. Athletic trainers are not only at the high school level, they are also seen at colleges, elementary schools, middle schools, minor league and pro teams. Brown gives a lot of credit for the help she gets from her assistant Morgan Hancock as well as the student trainers which each year she has between 5 to 8. Brown says most of the student athletic trainers are athletes.