Trinity Sports Medicine services growing in the region

Contact and collision sports will be a little safer in Williston this upcoming athletic season with Trinity Sports Medicine expanding to two schools in that area and Minot school athletes will have enhanced sports medicine services.

For 25 years Trinity Sports Medicine has been providing sports medicine excellence to athletes and those services will be wider-reaching and more enhanced.

Sports medicine coordinator Robyn Gust said Trinity has entered into cooperative agreements with Williston State College and Williston High School to provide sports medicine coverage to both schools. Trinity has also modified its agreement with the Minot Public Schools to add more visits to more schools and offer a broader range of coverage at sporting events.

“This expansion provides much needed allied healthcare to athletes at Williston State College and Williston High School,” Gust said. “These schools previously had the benefit of only part-time sports medicine coverage or no coverage.”

Carrie Eder, a certified athletic trainer, has been hired by Trinity to staff the program in Williston. She graduated from Minot State University in 2012 as part of the inaugural class of athletic trainers and worked part time at Williston State College in the past year providing athletic training services to the athletes.

Also hired by Trinity was Fred Spalding, a certified athletic trainer with extensive experience with high school athletes, who worked as a sports medicine teacher and athletic trainer in Idaho before joining Trinity Health. He will be on site at Central Campus for an hour a day right after school to care for student athletes, on site at the middle schools once a week and will cover all contact and collision sporting events for grades 9 through 12. Under the previous agreement event coverage was limited to varsity events.

Trinity Sports Medicine, as a service of Trinity Health, provides a team approach to evaluating and treating sports injuries and consulting with athletes on preventive care. Team members include certified athletic trainers, orthopedic surgeons and a sports medicine physician.

The expansion to the sports medicine services developed due to an increase in athletes needing care and needing more coverage at sporting events.

In Williston, Gust said she was approached by the football coaches at the high school after a concussion seminar and encouraged them to contact her, which they did. “The need was pushed by Williston High School because they said they needed help and they were worried about handling the new concussion laws,” she added. At Williston State College, Eder contacted Gust and they approached it as a cooperative plan by hiring Eder and keeping her in Williston.

From the time Gust was approached by the football coaches to signing contracts, it took three weeks, Gust noted. “We were going to step up and take care of this,” she added. “This happened fast at Williston.”

Gust said that during the past year her staff had seen an average of 20 to 25 athletes per day at Magic City Campus during a three and a half hour period. A survey was sent out last year, she added, and it was discovered that the training room was too small, athletes were waiting too long to receive care and there was no athletic training coverage for games below the varsity level. Kids would get hurt at sporting events below the varsity level and have to go to the athletic trainer at Magic City Campus the next day, Gust continued, but now they will be able to get treated at the game. Administration said the sports medicine services needed to provide better access to immediate care, she added.

Before the expansion, Gust said there wasn’t any sports coverage in Williston and there was no access to athletic trainers during the day. At Minot Public Schools, kids from Central Campus would have to go over to Magic City Campus and would often wait for up to an hour to see the trainer, she continued, and by the time the trainer would get to the athlete, the athlete’s practice would be over.

There were also nine high schools that were covered by sports medicine staff before the expansion, Gust said. Adding a junior college and Central Campus were like adding two schools, she added. “We needed to grow for our communities,” Gust said. “Schools are busting at the seems and we need to make sure we provide the best care we can.”

The sports medicine staff had never been at the middle schools before the expansion of the program, either, Gust said, and those kids didn’t have anywhere to go. Now a certified athletic trainer will check in once a week and will be at Erik Ramstad Middle School on Mondays, Memorial Middle School at the Minot Air Force Base on Wednesdays and at Jim Hill Middle School on Fridays, she explained. They will be available on those days at 4 p.m.

At Central Campus starting this school year, Gust said Spalding will be at a location in the East Gym each day after school from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. “And that’s huge for those kids not having to go anywhere and (Spalding) will be at all of their games,” she added.

“This expansion will result in better access for public school athletes and will supplement the athletic training room hours currently scheduled in the afternoons at Magic City Campus,” Gust said. “By providing sports medicine services at more events and offering visits at Central Campus, athlete injury concerns can be addressed immediately during games and in a more timely fashion after school by offering an additional site for athlete care.”

Gust said she and her sports medicine team can see the expansion of the program potentially carrying over into middle school football and basketball games in the next two years. “We’re going to make it (the program) functional this year and next year we’ll make it pretty,” she added.

“We just want people to know we’re there so the athletes know we’re available.”