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Each school to have trainer in 2012
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Every year there seems to be a devastating incident exclaiming the dangers of interscholastic sports to parents of student athletes.

As the 2012-13 season approaches, the Newton County Board of Education and Newton Medical Center have reached a partnership to work on limiting those dangers, as announced at Tuesday's School Board meeting. The Newton Medical Center approached the school board, Superintendent Dr. Gary Mathews, its members and head football coaches about a possible way to bring trainers to the fields of Newton County.

In the past Newton County schools had to supply their own trainers at their own expense, now Newton Medical Center has agreed to provide this service at no cost to the school system.

"For years NCSS administrators, coaches and athletic directors have viewed a certified athletic trainer program as a much needed addition to our athletic program" said Mathews in a memo to the school board. "The district is fortunate to have been approached by hospital (CEO) Mr. Weadick in reference to this plan to provide a full-time certified athletic trainer to each of our three high schools who will provide medical coverage for sports practices, games and tournaments."

The program will be headed up by team physician Dr. Reneé Riley. Riley is an orthopedic surgeon, who has earned an orthopedic sports medicine fellowship from the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Ala.

A certified trainer will now be on hand at each football game, both home and away to maintain the health of Alcovy, Newton and Eastside's athletes. Other details about the partnership were further detailed in Dr. Mathews memo.

• The certified athletic trainer will perform treatments within his/her scope of practice to help athletes return to play as soon as possible.

• The trainer will perform evaluations of athletes who sustain injuries and make decisions regarding the need for immediate treatment, evaluation by a physician and return to play based on that evaluation.

• In some cases, the trainer will be able to render treatment within his or her scope of practice, which may allow the athlete to return to play within the same practice or competition.

• If the trainer decides that the athlete needs further evaluation before returning to play, the office of Georgia Orthopedics and Sports Medicine will have the athlete evaluated as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours, so the athlete can be back to sports in a timely fashion, if his/her condition allows.

• The team physician for the school system will be Dr. Reneé Riley. Of course, there is no obligation to be treated by Riley. However, there are some advantages to using the team physician such as: an open line of communication between the trainer and Riley regarding the injured athlete, the treatment required and return to play time. This will allow coaches to be aware of these critical issues, so that they can plan accordingly.

• In addition to each school's trainer being present at each football game (both home and away), the team physician and/or the physician's assistant will be on the sidelines at most home football games and some away games.

• In addition to the services outlined above, there are plans to implement an injury clinic either on Friday night after games, or Saturday morning, to evaluate injuries sustained during the week's game. This will allow early treatment in an attempt to get athletes back to the field of play.

"It shows concern for the student athletes," Alcovy football coach Kirk Hoffman said. "It shows me the resources are there and that we get the support for the local board of education."