By Jean Schurman
Last Wednesday morning, administrators, athletic directors and coaches from the valley’s high schools gathered at the Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital Rehab Center to learn about a new program the hospital is offering, and also receive money for their respective sports programs.
Each fall, before practice starts for the fall sports, MDMH offers sports physicals to the young athletes of the valley. The $25 fee is then put into a fund that eventually goes back to each of the schools. Troy Hanson, assistant administrator for MDMH, opened the gathering by talking about the community pride seen in the young athletes as they come in for their physicals, no matter what school they are from.
“Pride, that’s what community is about,” he said.
Hanson took the opportunity to talk a bit about the hospital and how it is working to help the athletes, the schools and the community. Over the past nine years, the program has raised about $71,000. This year, the clinic served 334 athletes, 173 boys and 161 girls. The money from the physicals is donated back to the schools each year. This year, the total donated back was $8,350. Hamilton received $3,800, Corvallis $2,875 and the remainder was divided between Darby, Florence Stevensville, Hamilton Christian Academy and Victor.
Darrell Holland, athletic director at Hamilton, said the money helps their program take better care of their student athletes. “It helps with emergency scenarios.”
Dennis Pings, athletic director at Victor, said the donated money will go into a fund that helps with scholarships for those students who want to play but don’t have the funds to play. “We have a high percentage of low income students who qualify for free and reduced breakfasts and lunches. This helps some of them get to play.”
Dr. Don Lodmell, chairman of the MDMH board, said the goal of the program was to keep young athletes healthy and happy, and it offers a way to let the athletes and their parents know what MDMH has to offer. With state of the art rehabilitation equipment and a new rehab pool, he said the hospital is doing everything it can to aid the process of rehabilitation.
Over the years, the hospital has had a presence at some of the schools during sporting events, generally with their EMTs on site and ambulances, especially during football games. However, with only one orthopedic surgeon on staff, it was difficult to cover all of the games. Dr. Jeremiah Clinton had been the only orthopedic surgeon on staff until a month ago when Dr. Timothy Woods joined the staff.
In addition to adding another orthopedic surgeon, MDMH also added a program to increase services to athletes in the valley. Dr. Clinton said the program opens the clinic to athletes for an evaluation after an injury during a game or practice. Instead of waiting up to a week or more until the player could get in to see his doctor, this program offers a free evaluation and basic x-ray if needed, to any varsity player who the coach and/or the trainer feels should be seen by a doctor. Although an appointment is needed, several spots are available every day for these athletes so there is not a very long waiting period. By being evaluated sooner, treatment will start sooner and the athlete can, hopefully, get back out there playing sooner.
Dr. Woods said, “This is a nice benefit for the community. The sooner a decision is made on an injury, the sooner we can get going on a program to treat that athlete.”
Coupons were handed out to the coaches and ADs to be handed to the athletes in case of an injury. A coach or athletic trainer must sign the card in order to be used and the student must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. All present thought this would be a great help in getting athletes healthy and keeping them healthy. While the clinic will focus on injuries such as sprains and fractures, Dr. Clinton said they would evaluate everything at the end of the year to see if there are other areas that should be addressed as well.