District Athletic Trainers Perform Well

District Athletic Trainers Perform Well in a Crazy Year
Posted on 09/21/2021

Chris Mathewson

Head Athletic Trainer

Ponderosa High School

DCSD -- Director of Athletic Training

I have been in Douglas County School District for 27 years, and have never experienced a year like last year. Four seasons instead of three. Boys soccer, volleyball and gymnastics in February. Basketball players with facemasks. Daily quarantines, sometimes entire teams. Each day I went into work and I had no clue what my day was going to be like.     

When you look at the hard data you can see that last year was quite different.   Total participation was down by nearly 20%; 7797 total athletic participants last school year compared to a four-year average of 9113. The decrease in athletes translated into less teams, which equaled less games. The funny thing was that it never felt like we had less games because the schedule was changing by the minute.  

The athletic trainers of DCSD are provided through a contact with Panorama Orthopedics and Spine Clinic. Each high school has a full-time head athletic trainer and a part-time second athletic trainer. We work hard to document all the care we provide to the student athletes of the district. At the end of each year we dig deep into our records to see where we are performing well and  where we can improve.   

During the 2020-21 school year DCSD athletes suffered a total of 1451 athletic injuries resulting in 11954 days of participation missed. An “injury” is anything that is suffered by an in-season student athlete while participating in his/her sport that keeps them from participating in his/her sport. A three-year average for injuries suffered is 1593 resulting in 17712 days missed.   

In addition to evaluating and providing immediate care to injuries suffered by athletes, the athletic trainers of DCSD also provide a vast array of treatments to facilitate a fast and safe return to sports. In the 2020-21 school year we provided 17108 treatments. A previous three-year average of treatments was 30715. This decrease was probably the most obvious to me. In all my years past I have had student athletes walk in and out of the athletic training room which created an ease of access for treatments. However last year, the students were quick to leave, and not hang around the school.   

Despite the 15-20% decrease in our “load” numbers, our athletic trainers still performed quite well. At the end of each season the athletic trainers send surveys to each of our “stakeholder” groups (athletes, parents and coaches).   Each stakeholder group is asked to rate the school’s athletic training staff on their availability, approachability, equitability, communication skills and caring on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the highest).    

Rock Canyon was ranked highest by the athletes. They scored 24.39 out of 25.   Legend was not too far behind with a score of 23.87.   

Chaparral continued to be the highest ranked by the parents. Their score was 24.21 out of 25. Ponderosa was at 22.99.   

With the coaches' stakeholder surveys, Chaparral  had a nearly perfect score of 24.93 out of 25. Highlands Ranch and ThunderRidge were close behind with scores of 23.92 and 23.78 respectively.   

The 2020-21 school year was a year like no other. We made it through. I am proud of my team of athletic trainers. I am lucky to lead such a dedicated team of professionals.

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