Avera Medical Minute: New Athletic Trainer at McCook Central helps protect students from injuries and COVID exposure

Published: Aug. 23, 2020 at 11:06 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -

You can feel the excitement on the field as players and coaches at McCook Central schools meet up for practice. Jeff Heisinger is the activities director at Montrose High School.

"Trying to get athletics back up and running again. I'm trying to balance it all with doing what's safe safest for the students and safest for the community as a whole, it's been interesting," said Heisinger.

This year they've added someone new to the team: Avera Athletic Trainer Ellen Kluth.

"Having a medical professional with us to help us guide us through those situations is going to be such a, such a benefit for us," said Heisinger.

Doug Durfee is the McCook Central Activities director. With Ellen here to help, coaches can focus on other things.

"Takes a lot of pressure off the coaches and on practice and in competition to have you know an expert on the sideline and to help us through things and it's gonna be a great thing for us," said Durfee.

And Ellen is right where she wants to be.

"Injury-prone my whole life so I was dealing with the PT at our local clinic. We didn't have an athletic trainer, all the time. And so I really wanted to make sure that the small schools had an athletic trainer and someone there for them all the time," said Kluth.

Her day starts at the school with paperwork, getting her kits and ice ready for practices, and pre-treatment of athletes.

"Be there for practices, getting athletes taped up, getting ready for practice, go through some rehabs with a couple of lingering injuries we have, and then just there for practices. There on call if anybody needs me," said Kluth.

She also guides the team to protect themselves from COVID.

In charge of their own water, we're not sharing it coaches have been really great at encouraging their athletes to stay apart whenever they can, making sure everyone is accountable," said Kluth.

McCook Central coaches are taking direction from the Activities Association and the Department of Health.

"We're doing everything we possibly can, you know, we're in this together. We want school to go on we want the fall season to go on and the winter season so on so forth you know we want what's best for all these athletes, but we also want to keep them safe you know and that's number one priority," said Durfee.

Schools across the state are collaborating and sharing ideas to make the season the best it can be.

“Really hope the athletes are able to be on their field on their court doing what they love. Being able to be a part of a team and seeing their friends every day is going to be really important for them. I hope everyone stays healthy from COVID standpoint as well as athletic standpoint, keeping the injuries at bay. And it’s just, looking forward to a good year,” said Kluth.

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