Lincolnton High School athletes now have someone new to fix their bumps and bruises.
In conjunction with Lincoln Medical Center, the school has hired athletic trainer Sara Edwards.
â€œItâ€™s been good,â€ Edwards said. â€œThe people have been very helpful.â€
Lincolnton High School is the second high school in the county to have an athletic trainer. Lincoln Medical Center piloted the first program last year at North Lincoln High School with trainer Matt Bogaert.
â€œThis is a tremendous benefit to our athletes at Lincolnton High School,â€ said principal Tony Worley at a recent school board meeting. â€œItâ€™s very comforting to have that kind of coverage.â€
Edwardsâ€™ position is subsidized by the hospital, which started the program after seeing many schools using trainers and physicians groups outside the county.
Edwards has been on the job for a month.
Lincoln Medical Centerâ€™s goal is to bring quality health care to the people of Lincoln County, said Courtney Hilliard, Lincoln Medical Centerâ€™s community relations coordinator.
â€œLincoln Medical Center is really committed to the community,â€ Hilliard said. â€œWe realize that there are health care needs not just inside our hospital walls.â€
The state of North Carolina mandates that a trainer be at all athletic practices. Edwards is also present at all athletic events, including providing some middle school coverage.
In addition to the athletic trainers, the hospital has two physicians, Dr. Rod Redelsperger in internal medicine and Dr. Dan Davis in orthopedics, who split times and are present at games.
Edwards is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, where she studied athletic training and biomedical engineering.
During her job, Edwards usually arrives at practices an hour early and performs treatment on injuries, such as ankle and wrist taping.
Edwards also evaluates athletes for new injuries. She keeps records of the injuries and the medical treatment performed by herself and physicians.
Support has been positive from parents.
Edwards said that one parent was not going to let her son play football but decided to let him play because of Edwards.
Scott Cloninger, head football coach at Lincolnton High School, has enjoyed Edwardsâ€™ presence at practice.
â€œSara is a fine young lady,â€ Cloninger said. â€œSara has helped us everyday at practice. Itâ€™s taken a burden off of me.â€
Even the football players have adjusted well to their new female trainer.
â€œTheyâ€™re a good bunch of kids,â€ Edwards said. â€œThey are very respectful of me.â€
With the success at North Lincoln and Lincolnton, Hilliard hopes that even more schools will want to get involved.
â€œEach year as the program builds, there is the possibility that other schools will enter the mix,â€ Hilliard said.
by Mary Williams