Parents of athletes at our county’s six public high schools should find comfort in an agreement reached this week between the Public Schools of Robeson County and Southeastern Regional Medical Center.
The school board on Tuesday night agreed to contract with the medical center to provide athletic trainers for some practices and athletic contests at the high schools, bringing a level of medical expertise onto campus for those events not seen before. The medical center isn’t providing the trainers for free, but pretty close. The school system will pay the medical center $5,000 per school — $30,000 overall — for the services of trainers who make an average salary of about $40,000 year.
So the medical center will be subsidizing the cost.
Ronnie Chavis, the soon-to-be-retired athletics director for the Public Schools of Robeson County, said that Lumberton Senior High for about five years has had some access to athletic trainers, but Fairmont, Purnell Swett, Red Springs, South Robeson and St. Pauls have relied on first responders. Chavis said he has been in periodic talks with SRMC during the past half decade about providing the services to those five high schools, and received a call recently saying that could happen.
Chavis said, while the first responders had done a “good job,” athletic trainers are much better equipped to provide first aid and to diagnose medical injuries. The trainers will also provide stability that hasn’t been enjoyed in the past.
Chavis said the trainers have agreed to attend football practices and home events in sports where an injury is most likely to occur, and he specifically mentioned football, basketball, baseball, soccer and wrestling. But trainers will have the autonomy to work events as they see fit.
While addressing the school board Tuesday night, Chavis urged its members to accept the agreement, pointing out that this county has been lucky when it comes to injuries on fields of competition in recent years. But we all know, luck runs out. In that event, athletic trainers will be nearby to quickly provide expert health care.
Southeastern Regional Medical Center should be commended for stepping up and shouldering the majority of the cost for making this happen.