Baptist Health Floyd certified athletic training program serves 16 schools

July 28, 2020

July 28, 2020

There is a reason Kent Chapman had July 6 circled on his calendar, but it had nothing to do with a long holiday weekend.

That was the day Indiana high school athletes could begin voluntary workouts for sports which are still scheduled to begin in August.

Chapman, who is manager of the Baptist Health Floyd certified athletic training program, and his athletic trainers are gearing up for the fall sports season. Not only will they be dealing with the injuries that occur every season, but also how to best keep athletes safe from spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“We are creating a plan for return to sports,” Chapman said. “Each school system is putting a plan together. We are giving them our guidelines, but it will be difficult. We have never done this before.”

When Chapman came on board six years ago, Baptist Health Floyd athletic trainers only serviced a few schools. But today, athletes at 16 high schools and five middle schools are taken care of by 13 certified athletic trainers.

At some schools, the athletic trainers work 40 hours a week while others contract for a certain amount of hours or events.

Southern Indiana high schools serviced by Baptist Health certified athletic trainers include: Jeffersonville, Silver Creek, Charlestown, Borden, Henryville, Paoli, North Harrison, Providence, Clarksville, New Washington, Austin, Eastern, South Central, Lanesville, West Washington and Rock Creek. Middle schools include: Charlestown, Scribner, Silver Creek, Hazelwood and Highland Hills.

“It’s been great,” Chapman said. “It’s been great to work closely with sports medicine physicians, because it allows us to see athletes within 24 hours of their injury. We are all collaborating together as a Baptist sports medicine team and this includes our physicians, emergency room, urgent care centers, radiology and physical therapy.”

Dr. William A. “Chance” Davis and Dr. Kris Abeln work hand in hand with the athletic training program at Baptist.  They are both board-certified and sports medicine fellowship-trained physicians. Dr. Davis specializes in osteopathic medicine and concussion management while Dr. Abeln is the program’s orthopedic surgeon and is also the team physician at Indiana University Southeast.

“We can get kids in to see a doctor that day or the next,” Chapman said. “Dr. Abeln was interested in growing the program and that is what we have done.”

Kristie Dixon has been a certified athletic trainer in the Baptist system for five years. She is the trainer for three high schools, Borden, Henryville and Paoli. Monday through Thursday she works with student-athletes at Borden and Henryville and on Friday nights she covers football games at Paoli. She also checks in at Paoli through the week to make sure there are no injuries that need attention.

“It gets a bit crazy but I love it,” she said.

Dixon said with two doctors on call, she can schedule injured athletes to be checked that day or the next. She also said as a certified athletic trainer, she sees the injury first and is able to treat it and relay that information to the doctor.

Working with the student-athletes is a big reason why she enjoys her busy job.

“I love the spontaneity of it,” she said. “Every day is a new day and you never know what you are going to see. I like being around the kids, interact with them and watch them progress. I have had quite a few with ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries and it’s really neat to see those kids come back and compete.”

Chapman said it’s important that people understand the difference between a certified athletic trainer and a personal trainer. Athletic trainers are highly qualified, multi-skilled healthcare professionals that work in collaboration with a physician.  They are usually the first on the scene following an injury and also work closely with coaches on preventative measures to keep athletes safe. 

“The general population out there gets confused. They think of athletic trainers as personal trainers,” he said. “I think we need to do a better job educating people. Seventy percent of certified athletic trainers have a Master’s degree or higher. People need to know that all of our folks at Baptist working with these high school and middle school athletes are certified athletic trainers.”

Baptist Health Medical Group Sports Medicine is located at 2125 State St., Suite 5, New Albany. For more information or to make an appointment call 812.944.2663. The group treats patients of all ages for an assortment of ailments from acute and overuse injuries to joint and tendon injections.