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Avera Medical Minute: Athletic trainers share lessons learned from the pandemic

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 11:52 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - This past year brought many changes at Washington High School while navigating the pandemic.

Avera Athletic Trainer Caitlyn Martin says it was a year of growth.

“It has been a whirlwind. I learned a lot about my kids about the administration,” said Martin.

The bond between administration, staff, and coaches grew as they all worked together.

“They put in so many hours of contact tracing and bus seating charts and protocols, it’s they have seriously gone above and beyond to do this for these athletes,” said Martin.

The student-athletes grew as well. Rather than rely on staff, it’s up to them to make sure they have the equipment they need, like water bottles.

“It instills a sense of responsibility for the kids to make sure they have their own equipment on which I really like to continue,” said Martin.

With fewer practices before competitions, student safety is always a concern.

“To have an increase in injuries because you weren’t able to do as much ACL prevention as we typically do, but we have been able to manage that very well this year,” said Martin.

Washington High School Activities Director Nate Malchow is proud of how far they’ve come.

“It’s been a challenging year, but at the same time. It’s been a year to be proud of a lot of things,” said Malchow.

When the pandemic changed school activities, he set two goals.

“What can we do to preserve our students’ safety number one, and number two: give an opportunity to participate in activities,” said Malchow.

Working together made it possible

“I joke because we spend probably more time talking with each other in those first two or three weeks last year, maybe that we had in a year just because of all the different things that we were going through and all of the planning,” said Malchow.

Looking back, there are good things that came from navigating the pandemic.

“The silver lining with being just seeing the happiness that came out, of having that opportunity to participate,” said Malchow.

“These kids are maturing in a way that you wouldn’t expect high schoolers to do,” said Martin.

Looking forward, there is optimism.

“As we get closer to the summer, we’ll start working more on our summer protocols and how’s that’s gonna look with our, our open gyms and our strength and conditioning and our rehearsals in our camps. We’re planning on having those, but we’ll know more here in the near future,” said Malchow.

“How we come together as a community to make sure we can have these seasons for these student-athletes; It’s been really fun to watch,” said Martin.

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