AdvanceRedmond Sports Medicine and the Recreation Authority have signed a deal that assigns a full-time athletic trainer at RFPRA-sanctioned athletic events, to provide care for injuries that might occur during the games.
AdvanceRedmond already provides trainers and concussion screenings for local high schools. Partner Keith Thompson said he was watching a recreation league event about a year ago and felt there was a real need for professional help.
“With all that’s going on nowadays with concussions and what we know about concussions now, nobody was helping to make those decisions,” Thompson said.
He approached the RFPRA and said the organization was receptive to creating a partnership.
AdvanceRedmond’s Jessica VanderVeen has been assigned to the recreation department, where she is typically available at the main office from 3 to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. She also goes out to a game or practice in the evening.
“If she gets a phone call and she’s not there, we have staff all over the county that might be able to see somebody,” Thompson said.
Brad Westerbeck, director of sports medicine for AdvanceRedmond, said that it took time for some of the volunteer coaches to get used to the idea of asking for her help, but the program is beginning to catch on.
“It’s just a better option than trying to get them to an urgent care somewhere, and it’s free for goodness sakes,” Thompson said. “We can be a screening agent for the (emergency room) doctors.”
Westerbeck said that, through the football season, VanderVeen has had to deal with three children who suffered confirmed concussions.
“One even had a positive CT scan for some swelling on the brain, but everything turned out OK,” Westerbeck.
Thompson said that while football and basketball seasons keep VanderVeen busy, that gymnastics and competitive cheerleading are also major injury-producers.
Right now, VanderVeen is working on an education program for all coaches that will help the volunteers identify signs and symptoms of concussion.