School, hospital partnership aims to cut back on sports injuries

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - When student athletes in Independence, Mo., suit up this season, they'll have more than just the protection of their pads and helmets.

They have an athletic trainer on hand, ready to tackle any aches and pains.

Gabriel Clements works for Centerpoint Medical Center as the Director of Rehab and Sports Medicine. He helped create the partnership between Centerpoint Medical Center and the Independence School District.

“We have one dedicated employee at the school. So they’re here on site, start to finish,” Clements said.

The partnership gives each Independence high school, and every athlete, expert care that’s immediately available.

“It’s about the overuse injuries; it’s about the emergency epidemic of concussions, kids that have sudden cardiac incidences,” Clements said.

Dr. David Dyck is the Medical Director for Midwest Physicians Sports Medicine at Centerpoint Medical Center. He is seeing more and more student athletes pushing themselves to the limit and training year round.

“We have found the last couple of years that we used to see an uptick at this time but now we're seeing sports injuries year round,” Dr. Dyck said.

About 50 percent of Dr. Dyck’s patients come in with sports related injuries.

This partnership aims to prevent those doctor visits. Clements added, “We're here as a resource, we're the eyes and ears and hands that can sometimes be the person the player confides in if they’re really injured and their trying to push through it."

Independence schools will offer an athletic trainer for all sports, all the time, even holidays and weekends.

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