Oklahoma is one of four states selected by the National Football League for a three-year pilot program for athletes. Oklahoma City Public Schools and Mercy Hospital are partnering to make it happen.
Keith Sinor, District Athletic Director, said, “This is my sixth year. I’ve been trying to get full-time trainers every year.”
It’s finally happening thanks to the NFL grant. Sinor said, “This is a big deal for us.”
Oklahoma City Public Schools is receiving a $35,000 grant for each athletic trainer hired by Mercy. There will be four athletic trainers. One will be assigned to each stadium and work with different schools. The rest of the salary will be given through the partnership with Mercy.
Dr. Brendon McCollom is the Mercy Sports Performance Medical Director. He said student athletes will now get continuous care from practice to games. Students can also maintain therapy on campus instead of missing school hours.
During an emergency, the athletic trainers will also be equipped. They will each have a defibrillator on hand in case of cardiac arrest.
The program will kick in immediately.
“Starting this week, we’re going to be performing physicals on all the athletes in Oklahoma City Public Schools,” said Dr. McCollom.
Athletic Trainer Leah Cox said her goal is to prevent young athletes from having permanent injuries.
She said, “The hardest days, I had a couple of them. I had to sit down and explain to an athlete that even though they have eligibility left, they’ll never be able to play that sport that they love anymore.”
She is driven to make sure students properly recover from their injuries.
The athletic trainers will be available to all athletes across the school district.