LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The Arkansas Athletic Trainers Association is holding their annual meeting at Arkansas Children’s Hospital this weekend.
Organizers used Friday as the time where high school students interested in sports medicine could gather at Children's to get career advice and have some hands-on fun.
In a theater that resembled a medical school class or a business seminar, the students got to watch as orthopedic surgeons performed ligament surgery on a cadaver knee.
This is the kind of perspective that even medical students might not get until years into their higher education.
“This is a really great way for when the rubber meets the road to get hands-on experience in some of the things they're interested in,” said Jonathan Elrod, sports medicine coordinator for ACH.
The field of sports medicine is growing, with more and more young people more learning they can stay connected to sports by becoming a trainer or a medical professional in a sports-related specialty.
“I've been in sports all my life,” said Kennedy King, a senior at Lakeside High in Hot Springs. “Anatomy is something that I've slowly, slowly gotten more interested in and that's what I'm going to actually major in next year. I'm going into pre-medicine at Hendrix.”
“Orthopedics has been around for years and years,” said Dr. Michael Israel, a non-surgical sports medicine specialist who works at ACH. “Over the past 20 years, sports medicine has become more popular, they've gone from about 20 to 30 programs to about 100 training programs in the past about 15 years.”
Dr. Israel attributes the growth to our increasingly active lifestyles and the attention paid to young athletes. He told THV11 diagnosing sports injuries is getting better and better. It will be these future doctors and medical pros that will deal with the consequences of those injuries as their playing days come to an end.
“It ends for everybody at some point,” said King. “Whether it be at the high school level, the college level or even if you go to the NFL or something, it's always going to end and you have to have something to do afterward.”
Day 2 of the trainers’ meeting will include a focus on communications between trainers and EMT’s when it comes to spine-boarding. Leaders call proper protocols crucial to saving lives and limbs when serious injuries happen on the playing fields and courts.