East and West Grand partner with Middle Park Medical Center for Sports Therapy Program
Each year as our young high school athletes take to the field, the court or the mountain slopes they put themselves in danger.
For most this usually amounts to little more than minor sprains, jammed fingers and the bumps and bruises that naturally come with the proverbial territory. But for others it can mean things like concussions or broken bones. Knowing when an injury is serious enough it requires professional medical attention can be difficult though for the average untrained person.
For the past several years the athletes of the East Grand School District (EGSD) and the West Grand School District (WGSD) have had some professional help in the form of physical therapists from Middle Park Medical Center (MPMC). Doctors of Physical Therapy (DPT) Jubil Young and Jake Bauer serve as the men-on-the-ground for a collaborative program between MPMC and Grand County’s two school districts.
The collaboration is called the Sports Therapy Program (STP). Under the program MPMC provides therapists for all varsity home games in East and West Grand. Jubil Young, DPT oversees the program in East Grand while Jake Bauer, DPT oversees the program in West Grand. Sharon Justice, Director of Rehabilitation Services with MPMC is the overall Administrator of the STP.
“This is a service the hospital provides to the high schools,” said Young. “We cover all home varsity events in case of injury and to provide any sports medicine techniques needed during the game.” Director Justice pointed out the school districts do not pay MPMC for the services provided through the STP.
Young physically attends home games in Granby while Bauer attends the West Grand home games in Kremmling. “You can usually find me on the sidelines of the football games, basketball games, soccer and sometimes for baseball, though injuries in baseball are not as common,” Young said. “We are there in case something happens the coaches can’t handle.”
Part of Young’s work as a sports therapist is to take some of the working burden off our local coaches who usually have their hands full managing their teams. “We help manage the athletes for whatever they need; whether that is an ankle taping, maybe they need a band-aid, or we might say, ‘hey, this kid has a concussion, we need to remove them from play immediately.’ That is a lot for a coach to manage for just one athlete while they are coaching or conducting practices.”
Young explained one of his primary areas of concern as a sports therapist is on concussions and potential concussions. “I guess one of our big focuses is managing concussions. That is a hot topic these days,” Young said. “The State has very specific restrictions on how we handle kids with concussions. Once we identify someone with a potential concussion they must get medical clearance from a doctor before they can return.”
Young explained that he and Bauer work as a sort of liaison between the school districts and the more advanced medical options offered by MPMC. “We help facilitate athletes returning to play safely and under the guidelines that exist,” he said.
As basketball season continues Young says the most common type of injuries he encounters are ankle injuries and other lower extremity injuries. “Wrestling is also a very physical sport and we find that it is very hard on the shoulder,” Young said. “We have had a handful of injuries this year, everything from ankle fractures and sprains to rotator cuff injuries and even a punctured lung.”
Along with the Sports Therapy Program Young also oversees a Bumps and Bruises Clinic for athletes at Middle Park High School (MPHS). “Bumps and Bruises is a screening tool,” Young said. “We check them out and say, ‘maybe you don’t need to see a doctor,’ or maybe we direct the kids to a doctor. More often than not with some of the minor injuries we are able to manage them there without escalating it too far.”
According to Young the majority of what he sees student athletes for are relatively minor injuries. “I see a lot of kids with small or minor injuries that I can help in a few minutes by teaching them how to manage it. I think a big part of my role is teaching the kids how to manage these injuries after the game, so it isn’t a prolonged injury.”
The Bumps and Bruises Clinic is held in the athletic training room at MPHS each Tuesday afternoon.
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