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Sports medicine team receives the Safe Sports School Award

Nara Hamburger
The Wakefield sports medicine team poses for a photo after being awarded the Safe Sports School Award. The award recognizes the hard work the students have put into the program.

Students at Wakefield High School are given the special opportunity to obtain first-hand athletic medical experience both on and off the field. This year, Wakefield received the Safe Sports School Award to honor the hard work and dedication that the students have invested in learning about sports-related injuries, as well as how to prevent them. This award not only highlights the commitment the students have shown towards the school, but it also emphasizes the important skills that are acquired when involved in a sports medicine class or the athletic training program.

The Safe Sports School Award is presented by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and nationally recognizes schools for taking crucial steps to keep their athletes free from injuries. To be awarded this achievement, athletic programs must meet several requirements; they need a positive healthcare administrative team, an emergency action plan, an environment that promotes safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities as well as many other requirements. 

Brent Dorenkamp teaches sports medicine and is the head athletic trainer. He has been at Wakefield for a total of 20 years and finds it important that the athletes, parents and coaches are prepared and educated for any emergencies.

“Out of 26 or 27 high schools, I think there are only three or four that are considered safe school team members,” Dorenkamp said.

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A great way for students to get involved as student trainers would be to take a sports medicine class. These classes cover different injuries and treatments while allowing students to get a feel for different fields that interest them. They can also learn valuable life skills, such as how to perform CPR, basic first aid or how to use an AED. Not only are these practical for everyday life, but they help to keep the school’s athletes in top-performing condition. 

Meredith Elliott is a senior and president of the Sports Medicine Team and has been involved as a student trainer for three years. As a student trainer, students attend sporting events to assist on the sideline. Students are able to gain firsthand experience such as taping and basic first aid.

We have a really strong sports medicine program and our athletes are getting a crazy amount of care from our student trainer program.

— Dorenkamp

From a young age, she has been interested in both sports and medicine, and Elliot plans to go into the medical field for emergency medicine. To her, being awarded the Safe Sports School Award is not only a great accomplishment, but it is a recognition of the hard work and appreciation that the students have put into the program. 

“We have our athletes’ peace of mind, and if there are problems, we are able to handle them and get players back out [on the field or court],” Elliott said. 

The secretary of the Sports Medicine Team Trina Ly is a junior and is also interested in going into the medical field after high school. By taking sports medicine classes, she was able to get an idea of what it takes to be a safe sports school. One of the key qualities Ly highlights is the ability to cooperate and communicate with others. 

“As a team, working together and collaborating to make sure that all the athletes are playing in a safe environment [is important],” Ly said. “You can’t really work by yourself because it is a group effort.”

While being involved in the sports medicine team can seem a lot like a job, junior and vice president Victoria Berstein finds the experience rewarding. She has been involved for a little over two years and has helped out with a majority of school sports, including football, men’s soccer, and basketball among others. Not only has she gained a love for the sports environment, but she has also gained many experiences with different injuries and scenarios. 

“[The Safe Sports School award] to [tokenize] a program that has built itself up to where they are [a] constant [support for athletes,]” Bernstein said. “Your school has it covered when it counts.”

It is a great honor that Wakefield has been awarded the Safe Sports School Award as it highlights the trainers’ hard work to provide our athletes with a safe and nurturing environment. As the program continues to grow, there is no doubt that it will continue to remain strong and serve the students quality care. The program is always looking for more people who are excited and interested in what the student trainers do.

“We have a really strong sports medicine program and our athletes are getting a crazy amount of care from our student trainer program,” Dorenkamp said. “If [the program] wasn’t here, then our level of care [for injured athletes] would greatly decrease.”

This story was originally published on The Howler on April 30, 2024.