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      The importance of athletic trainers in high schools

      They are one of the most important people at the game. No, I'm not talking about the players, or the coaches, or even the fans. They sit behind the bench. They're the athletic trainers. The men and women hired to react when an athlete goes down. Almost every college has them, but what about the high schools? Less than half the high schools in America have a trainer on staff. Jelan Kendrick, a standout, guard at Indian Hills and Atlanta native is thankful his high school was one of the lucky ones.

      From assessing an injury, to dehydration, to rehab athletic trainers can do it all. Beyond the physical advantages, they also step in as mental and emotional supporters. For young athletes like Sammy Garrett an acl tear can be overwhelming, and trust might be just what the doctor ordered to get her back into shape.

      Dave Reese is a full time physical therapist. He's worked with Olympians, professional athletes, and now he assists Ottumwa high school athletics with their athletic program.

      Advantages of Dave and people like him is endless and obviously goes beyond nursing an injury. Dave also helps prevent injury by assisting coaches in assessing equipment. Getting athletes back to full strength faster means a bigger, better team, and with success usually comes more money. Bottom line, if and when an athlete goes down, these guys are here to pick up the pieces. To help your son or daughter meet that deadline and get back in the game. Next time you see one of these guys or any other athletic trainer at a game make sure to say thanks.