Stormont Vail Health Athletic Trainer Program: A Team Effort

High schoolers have a lot going on – from classes to honing time management skills to socializing to part-time jobs to extracurriculars – and that’s just the start. Student athletes juggle even more – practice schedules, college prospects, and staying on top of mental and physical health. Helping students find the right balance takes a team, which is why Stormont Vail Health partners with high schools in the community and around the region to provide care from our athletic trainers (ATCs).

Stormont Vail Health launched the Athletic Trainer Outreach Program over 35 years ago when Brad Parry, MS, LAT, ATC, Athletic Trainer Supervisor, and a former physician identified a pressing need for it. Since then, we’ve expanded the program to 25 schools across Kansas.

“What our presence in the high schools can do to enhance the product on and off the field by improving communication between athlete, coach, parent, and physicians as well as acting in a complementary role with physical therapy departments is really incredible,” said Austin Dodds, MS, LAT, ATC, Athletic Trainer at Silver Lake High School. “Ultimately, our approach is full-service and organizationally integrated to those we render athletic training services.”

Mike FlynnHayden Catholic High School
Brad ParryWashburn Rural High School
Mike LonghofferSeaman High School
Todd GattasShawnee Heights High School
Austin DoddsSilver Like High School

Stormont Vail’s Athletic Training Outreach Program consists of five ATC professionals with more than 100 years of combined experience who work full-time at five Topeka high schools to help students with injury prevention and providing support at practices and games.

Our sports medicine physicians also support ATCs to streamline students’ access to health services when they need care for an injury or concussion. Additionally, ATCs work with physicians to help injured student-athletes recover and return to the game efficiently and safely.

Seasoned Experts Ensure Students Have Their Best Season

“In Kansas, athletic trainers are healthcare providers licensed by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts just like physicians, chiropractors, and physical therapists,” said Todd Gaddis, ATC, LAT at Shawnee Heights High School, with almost 30 years of experience. “To sit for the national exam to receive your certification, you must obtain a Master’s Degree in athletic training. Overall, an ATC has five to six years of combined undergraduate and graduate studies. You should feel confident that you will get the best care possible – even in an emergency.”

In addition to high quality care, these highly trained professionals also provide:

  • Lifestyle and wellness education to help students avoid injuries and illnesses
  • Immediate access to care through on-site injury examination, assessment, and diagnosis
  • Therapeutic intervention to rehabilitate and recondition injuries, illnesses, and general medical conditions
  • Healthcare administration and referral management, promoting coordinated care for students and keeping everyone on the same page – a vital program benefit.
  Outreach SchoolDistance from Stormont Vail Topeka Campus
Sabetha High School62 miles
Holton High School32 miles
Shawnee Mission West High School63 miles
St. Marys High School27 miles
Mission Valley High School30 miles
Lebo Junior-Senior High School54 miles
Marais Des Cygnes Valley High School42 miles
Santa Fe Trail High School23 miles
Frankfort High School80 miles
Jackson Heights High School35 miles
Royal Valley High School16 miles
Rossville Junior-Senior High School20 miles
Wabaunsee High School37 miles
Burlington High School63 miles
Waverly High School53 miles
Lyndon High School33 miles
Osage City High School39 miles

The value of these relationships and athletic trainers’ care goes beyond Topeka, extending as far as Sabetha, less than 10 miles from the Kansas-Nebraska border. In addition to serving Topeka’s high schools, the ATC team visits 17 schools across Northeast Kansas once to twice a week to work with student athletes 1-on-1.

“We’ll walk into these schools and typically have somebody, like the football coach, find us and ask us to see a certain player,” said Mike Flynn, MS, ATC, LAT, and Athletic Trainer at Hayden High School. “When students meet with us, we listen to their story, learn what’s wrong, and tell them what they need to do to recover. Or, we’ll make a referral if we need to.”

The ATC team also visits these regional schools during home games, while several PRNs cover other events. Outside of games and 1-on-1 visits, our ATCs develop and practice emergency action plans to get athletes emergency care quickly and efficiently.

Once a year, the team also provides sports physical events where community members can receive orthopedic, vision, and wellness assessments for just $20. Ultimately, these events, in addition to the team’s coordination efforts and on-site care, help student athletes achieve their athletic and health goals – and balance in all areas of their busy lives.

A Win-Win for Everyone

The Stormont Vail Athletic Trainer Outreach Program is an invaluable benefit to the communities and students we serve. By providing comprehensive, integrated care, coordination, and treatment, students can enjoy better health outcomes and less time from school, work, or sports. It’s just one way we’re working to improve the health of our community – wherever you call home.

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