The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Sports

September 16, 2009

Going high-tech

PDAs big help to athletic trainers

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.”

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