Student athletes are always striving to do more – to be stronger, faster, and more agile – without getting hurt. To help, Trinity Health Sports Medicine department has expanded its FASTER program, which focuses on injury prevention and overall performance enhancement for student athletes.
“You’ll always have injuries, but we’re trying to prevent non-contact injuries, when the body isn’t strengthened appropriately or balanced,” explains Robyn Gust, manager of Trinity Health’s Sports Medicine department. “We really focus the programs on the demands of the sport and how we can strengthen the body to meet those demands without breaking down.”
A new home base
This year, for the first time, FASTER has a permanent base at the Maysa Arena in Minot. Previously, the FASTER program was held at various schools throughout the region, says Dawn Mattern, MD, a Sports Medicine provider with Trinity Health. “We’re going to have a spot to get as many people taken care of as we possibly can,” Dr. Mattern says.
FASTER, which stands for Flexibility, Agility, and Strength Together Equal Ready, was introduced in 2006. It’s led by athletic trainers from Trinity Health’s Sports Medicine department and is geared toward junior and high school students.
Sport specific training
Each sport has injuries specific to the sport and age group, Dr. Mattern says.
For basketball and soccer (“especially girls soccer”), anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are common. With volleyball, baseball, softball, and swimming, where athletes spend a lot of time with their arms above their shoulders, the shoulder is a common problem area.
“There is so much more in preventing shoulder injuries than just strengthening the shoulder,” Gust says. The same is true for other injuries.
If there is a group of girls’ basketball players, “I’d like to get them at middle school level,” Dr. Mattern says. That way, they can be taught how to land properly from a jump to prevent injury to the ACL, located in the knee. “If I wait until they are seniors in high school, that isn’t going to go well.”
Dr. Mattern explains that things students learn now can translate into health when they are 40 years old. An ACL tear, for example, can lead to an expensive surgery, six to nine months in rehabilitation, and then a knee replacement in 25 or 30 years.
“If I can prevent a young girl from tearing her ACL, I’ve changed her life,” she says.
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