Athletic training is going high-tech.
Raleigh General Hospital, which provides free sports medicine to all Raleigh County athletes, is outfitting its athletic trainers with PDAs featuring SportsWare injury tracking software.
“We now have all the athletes’ medical history stored digitally,” said Paul Bailey, Raleigh General’s director of sports medicine and rehabilitation services. “We have it right in our hands on the PDA.”
Bailey and athletic trainers Chris Proctor and Matt Lacek no longer have to carry a box around with medical records or make sure their laptops are nearby and charged.
Instead, a ton of information is right there in their pockets.
“The PDAs are great. I can document things and not have to remember it later,” said Proctor, who serves as athletic trainer for Shady Spring High School sports.
“Instead of carrying around a big notebook full of everyone’s emergency information, I have it all handy,” he said. “I have their insurance information, their emergency contacts — everything I need to know to get to a doctor.”
“If the parents aren’t at an away game, I have everything I need,” said Lacek, the athletic trainer at Liberty High School.
While the PDAs will obviously come in handy in an emergency, they’re also used every day in doing routine injury reports. They track how long athletes have been out, the type of treatments they’re receiving and when they’re expected to return to action.
Very soon, the PDAs will be able to communicate directly with the computers at Raleigh General.
“If a high school has a server, we can piggyback on it and have access to the hospital,” Bailey said. “(Doctors) can look at anything we have here.
“It’s not all up and running yet, but we’re working on it.
“One day we’ll be able to pull up X-rays and MRI scans on our PDAs. It’s exciting.”
Lacek likes how the PDAs help out with statistics.
“They track the sports athletes are playing when they get hurt, or how many ACL tears or shoulder dislocations we have,” Lacek said. “In the past, we’d have to go through a mountain of paperwork to find out all that stuff.”
Bailey said a new module is coming out that will particularly help with head injuries.
The athletic trainers will be able to tie in to a national data bank.
“It’s a way of analyzing how traumatic the injuries are,” Bailey said. “It will allow us to integrate and bring a higher standard of care.”
Athletic training has certainly come a long way since it was more about wrapping knees or putting ice on sprains.
“Southern West Virginia has been hit or miss as far as athletic training goes,” Bailey said. “(The new technology) is one way for us to provide a better service for our athletes.”
PDAs big help to athletic trainers
Athletic training is going high-tech.
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