When people see an athlete on the field winning a game, they may think of all the work and time put into training.
But what happens behind the scenes to address injuries and keep players healthy?
The Sports Medicine Staff, employed by UMKC Athletics, is a group of health professionals who oversee the physical and mental well-being of student athletes. These individuals go above and beyond their responsibilities to ensure each patient gets the care and learns the skills needed to remain healthy.
The team includes athletic trainers, physicians, a dietician, a psychologist and a dentist.
The athletic trainers spend the most time with the athletes and keep up with their health. When a situation arises such as an injury or other medical condition, they seek the advice and expertise of the physicians.
The physicians and athletic trainers coordinate a plan to manage the athlete’s ailment and recovery from an injury or medical condition.
The physicians refer serious injuries requiring surgical attention to orthopedic surgeons associated with the Sports Medicine Staff or with UMKC.
“Injuries are an expected outcome of a game or training,” said Dr. George Harris, a team doctor and School of Medicine faculty. “We always have a doctor at every game and in the training room during practices.”
Like athletic trainers, team doctors are also concerned with the general health and well-being of their student-athlete patients.
They help athletes with conditions varying from iron deficiencies to the common cold.
The doctors also perform the Pre-Participation Exam (PPE) on each athlete at the beginning of every season before training starts.
The doctors not only treat the athletes, but also take care of the coaches and trainers.
The dentist, dietician and psychologist are integral to providing balanced care.
Becca McConville, team dietician, takes student-athletes on grocery store tours and helps create a healthy and inexpensive meal plan.
McConville also works with the other members of the team, particularly the team doctors, to help alleviate any nutritional deficiency problems that arise and help maximize athletic performance.
“‘Nutrition to performance is like high octane fuel to a sports car’,” she said.