Mercy Sports Medicine athletic trainers and emergency responders gathered on the Kickapoo High School Football Field Friday to practice what to do if a middle or high school student suffers from heat exhaustion, head injuries, cardiac arrest or another ailment during a game.
Jim Raynor, administrative director of Mercy Sports Medicine, said he wants parents to know their sons or daughters are in good hands when they take part in middle school or high school sports. He said they hold drills like this one to prepare for the worst as they hope for the best.
"We've been preparing all year long, and this is just our accumulation for our kick off to a hopefully injury-free year and illness-free year, but we have to be prepared," Raynor said.
Typical injuries they see each year, according to Raynor, are sprains, strains, fractures, internal injuries and exertional heat illness.
Marty Marsh, assistant director of athletics for Springfield Public Schools, said they contract with Mercy to provide athletic trainers who work with students and coaches to try to prevent and also to respond to injuries.
According to Marsh, an underlying reason for doing that is to increase participation rates.
"We know that those kids that are involved in athletics and activities have higher grade point averages, they have higher attendance rates in school, they're more likely to persist to graduation, they have fewer discipline problems, and they're less likely to drop out of school," said Marsh.
The Mercy athletic trainers as well as sports medicine students at Missouri State University are involved in all 19 sports at the high school level and nine at the middle school level in the SPS District. Marsh said they’re looking to expand the middle school athletic trainer coverage.