High school trainers' minds are always thinking of their students' healthSubmitted: 09/30/2016
NORTHWOODS - When you're watching a football game as a fan, most of your attention stays on the field--and that's the case for athletic trainers, too. But the trainers aren't watching plays develop; they're looking out for for injuries. Here in the Northwoods, that's no different.

Sandy Klima never stops thinking during a game.

"Is the ambulance there? Where is the [automated external defibrillator], if I'm not at my home field? If something does happen, who's my first contact? I go through that before every game in my head," Klima said.

The Crandon High School athletic trainer keeps kids safe by constantly thinking a step ahead.

"Would you drop your kid off at a public pool without a lifeguard? No, because you don't want your kid to potentially drown; you want them to be safe. So why is it OK to have kids at football practice, volleyball practice without supervision?" said Klima.

Klima and Laona/Wabeno trainer Courtney Palubicki spend many hours with their schools' sports teams. But they also work a full day at Spine and Sport here in the Northwoods.

"Usually in the afternoons I head out to the high school and cover practices, or if they have games, cover the games verifying between high school, middle school, JV and varsity," said Palubicki.

All that work adds up to a pretty long workweek for the two trainers.

"This is something Sandy and I had to sit down and schedule to make sure we weren't working a crazy amount of hours," said Palubicki.

They might be working long hours, but that doesn't change how attentive the trainers are to concussions in high-impact sports.

"We make sure that all administration, coaches, are aware of our protocols and that we are recognizing if we need to evaluate them right away," said Palubicki.

While on the sidelines, Kilma and Palubicki aren't just watching for injuries to happen--they're also listening.

"'My head is spinning' or 'My head is spinning' or 'I just got my bell rung', those are a lot of buzzwords," said Klima.

The trainers take their jobs very seriously and recognize the impact they can have with the students on and off the field.

"They're so impressionable at this age, and I try and be a role model to them and to set a good example," Kilma said. "If we can set a good example now, in the future they will keep going with those examples."

Story By: Katie Leszcynski

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