“Our certified athletic trainers (ATC’s) focus on injury prevention and overall conditioning for athletes and can be found on the sidelines during a football or basketball game or in the weight room, or out in the dirt for the Great Plains Stampede Rodeo. Our main focus and goal is helping young athletes reduce the chance for injury. We try and attend as many local competitions for boys and girls sports for each of the area high schools as possible”, said Mitch McLaughlin, ATC, of Gallagher Orthopedics & Sports Medicine.
In addition to providing on site coverage at sporting events, Gallagher Orthopedics will provide an immediate walk-in sports medicine service to injured athletes throughout the Southwest Oklahoma area on Saturday mornings during the local football season. Injured athletes can receive acute care for their sports-related injuries immediately. This clinic is slated to begin Saturday, September 3rd and end Saturday, November 13th nearing the end of the football playoffs.
“We’ve provided the Saturday sports injury clinic for the past couple of years, and it has been an excellent resource for parents, athletes, and coaches to use to have instant access to a physician for those injuries that might need to be seen quickly. In addition, to the Saturday clinic, “This year we began providing an outreach service to local schools, which allowed an Athletic Trainer (ATC) to come to the individual schools on a weekly basis to examine and assess injured athletes. It has established an excellent communication network between coaches, parents, athletes, and the doctor that I believe has worked extremely well”, said McLaughlin.
Many larger schools in the 5A-6A ranks keep full-time ATC’s on staff. McLaughlin added, “With budget cuts that take place with school systems, it makes it hard for smaller schools to hire a full time athletic trainer. “The focus of our outreach ultimately is to put as many athletic trainers out there to affect as many schools as we possibly can.” said McLaughlin. This year there has been a great emphasis on spine injuries and concussion management in Oklahoma high school sports. The signing of Oklahoma’s SB1700 came exactly one year after the passing of Washington State’s Lydstedt Law. The Lydstedt Law is widely considered as the nation’s toughest return to play law with concussions, and is the law that SB 1700 was modeled after. “I think that with the growing concern of concussions and spine injuries, athletic trainers are becoming a greater value to have in the area. We don’t have enough at this time locally, but hope to eventually have an athletic trainer in place at majority of the sporting events that take place here in southwest Oklahoma. I think it’s a service that the people of Southwest Oklahoma deserve to have, and they should know that they don’t have to travel to Oklahoma City or Tulsa to receive quality sports medicine healthcare.”
“I really enjoy taking care of and establishing the relationships with all of the athletes, coaches, and parents of the surrounding communities. It’s something I hope we can do for people here for a long time, and really make an impact on their lives!