On and Off the Field – Taking Care of our Athletes
March is National Athletic Training Month and what better way to celebrate than to give you the inside scoop on the extent Stormont Vail Health goes to in order to provide athletic training services to the community we love.
Not only do we have two certified athletic trainers (ATCs) who work full-time with Washburn Athletics as part of our partnership with them (we see you, Kolten Schulte and Amanda Marchino!), but we have four more ATCs who work in our clinics (shout-out to Morgan Rakestraw, Shelby Wadel, Kaylee Snell, and Eric Bailey!) and three PRN, ATCs who help with high school outreach on game nights (thank you, Karen Garrison, Kelsie Strathman, and Heather Hice!).
On top of this already outstanding amount of dedication to serving up top-notch athletic training, we have five superstar ATCs who work full-time in high schools across the city to make sure our student athletes are getting the education and care they deserve.
MIKE FLYNN, MS, ATC, LAT – Hayden High School
Don’t let Mike Flynn’s short stature fool you as he is sure to have the biggest personality in the room! He has been an ATC for 35 years and his passion for the field is immediately clear to see.
“I’m so proud to be a part of the Athletic Training team at Cotton O’Neil, we have a great staff with a lot of experience,” said Flynn. “35 years later and I don’t think I would change a thing. It’s been fun and rewarding! I think my favorite part is all the interactions with different people. High school athletes are a great patient population as well. For the most part they are engaged, compliant and want to do what is necessary to return to practice and competition!”
High School Outreach Coverage at: Sabetha, Holton, Frankfort, Centralia, and Onaga
TODD GADDIS, ATC, LAT – Shawnee Heights High School
Todd Gaddis has been in the game for 27 years and doesn’t plan to stop any time soon. He thinks it’s important for parents, athletes, and community members to understand why they’re safe in his hands.
“In Kansas, athletic trainers are healthcare providers who are licensed by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts just like physicians, chiropractors, and physical therapists, etc.,” said Gaddis. “To be able to sit for the national exam to receive your certification, you now have to obtain a Master’s Degree in athletic training. All in all, an ATC has about 5 to 6 years of combined undergraduate and graduate studies. You should feel confident that you will get the best care possible – even in an emergency situation.”
High School Outreach Coverage at: Wetmore, Jackson Heights, Royal Valley, Jeff West, Lyndon, and Santa Fe Trail
BRAD PARRY, MS, LAT, ATC – Washburn Rural High School
If you’ve been around the sports scene in Topeka, KS, then you know the name Brad Parry. With close to 40 years in the field, his first position was in 1984 and now serves as the supervisor for our high school ATCs. He knows that what happened to Damar Hamlin has caused anxiety and fear for parents. To that, he says:
“Fortunately, what happened to Mr. Hamlin is very rare, but it can happen. We have Emergency Action Plans in place at our schools. In case of an emergency that plan can be put into effect quickly and efficiently to get emergency care to the athlete. We also have AED's on sight that can be easily accessed in case of cardiac arrest.”
High School Outreach Coverage at: Wabaunsee, Mission Valley which I share with Austin, Osage City, St. Mary’s, and Rossville
MIKE LONGHOFER, MS, LAT, ATC – Seaman High School
If you’re looking for an ATC who wants to keep our community safe and healthy, Mike Longhofer knows what he is doing. With 29 years getting athletes back to their sport, he has found the secret to success.
“Education is one of the most important parts of what I do. Advising athletes, parents, and coaches on ways to help prevent/treat injuries is something I do almost daily,” said Longhofer. “I just want to help injured athletes return to their sport. Assisting them from their initial injury, through the rehabilitation process, and ultimately back to the court/field is very rewarding.”
AUSTIN DODDS, MS, LAT, ATC – Silver Lake High School
Austin Dodds may be the youngest out of the five high school full-time athletic trainers, but talk about passion. Six years after earning his certification, he still remembers the words spoken to him at the beginning of this journey.
“Prior to pursuing this education tract, I honestly had no knowledge of the profession of athletic training,” said Dodds. “Stumbling upon the program, offered at Washburn University, I still recall the first words out of the program director’s mouth, ‘You’ll have the best seats in the house for sporting events.’ Having a ‘seat’ was rather misleading, as we can be found constantly pacing the sidelines, but being right in the middle of the action is what I really enjoy. Possessing the ability to quickly evaluate, appropriately respond and problem solve on the fly is crucial in this realm. Having an innate passion for sports and a desire to help those in need, I could not think of a better professional career.”
High School Outreach Coverage at: Lyndon, Santa Fe Trail, Cair Paravel, Burlingame, Lebo, Waverly, Marais des Cygnes Valley, and Mission Valley
And let’s not forget the man who dedicates his time to making sure this team runs smoothly and has the education they need. Michael Ramirez, MS, ATC, LAT, is the System Director of Rehabilitation Services. Stormont Vail is so thankful to him for his hard work, dedication, and love of the healthcare field.
Serving the community, one athlete at a time – that’s what the amazing athletic training team does. If you’re fortunate enough to know any of these amazing ATCs, be sure to wish them a Happy National Athletic Training Month!