Stacy Perkins currently serves as trainer for Allen County-Scottsville High School. Stacy is a native of Northeast Ohio and graduated from the University of Toledo with a major in Exercise Science with a concentration in Athletic Training.
Stacy’s interest in physical therapy and athletic training started in high school biology where she became fascinated with muscle connections and the layout of the body connections. She always played sports in high school and the merge of the two was natural. She provides athletic training services and office duties for Orthopedist Plus in Scottsville.
She especially enjoys the rehabilitation aspect of sports training and collaborates with doctors to give the Allen County-Scottsville athlete top notch care.
dampfang.com interviewed Stacy on the different aspects of sports injuries and medicine. Stacy says the most common injury in football involves the shoulders and ankles and elaborates on other sports medicine issues.
Examiner: The KHSAA has a heat indices chart and we know if the heat index hits a certain level the players can’t practice. But even with acceptable temperatures there is a need to prevent heat related episodes. How do you treat and prevent those?
Stacy: Yes, they take into account the humidity and the heat and they have the KHSAA chart that determines whether they can practice. When we do practice in heat, we have them to take off their helmet when they aren’t doing anything. Obviously you keep all your heat through your head. That tends to help. We have mandatory water. Our coaches never suppress our players from water. We give them water often and they are always welcome to walk over and get a drink whenever they want. We keep cool towels, ice towels, in a bucket, and if someone goes down we wrap them in that right away. Then if it is severe enough we will call for help and get them to the hospital.
Examiner: What can kids do on their own to prepare for heat?
Stacy: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I know some kids carry water bottles with them at school. Many times besides heat exhaustion they can get heat cramps also. They really need to stay away from the pop and the teas, and always go for those good nutritious drinks like water and juices.
Examiner: Just about every year we see the so-called stingers or burners. Comment on what those are, the recovery process, etc.
Stacy: A shoulder stinger is due to a large nerve that runs through the neck and into the shoulder and that nerve supplies the sensation down into the arm and into the fingers. Sometimes that sensation can go away initially and sometimes it lasts, depending on the severity. If it doesn’t leave, it’s up to me to get their range of motion back. That’s what they lose the most, they get very tight. And I try to help them get that range of motion back.
Examiner: What is the best way to avoid a head and neck injury?
Stacy: Being taught properly how to tackle. The coaches know how to do this but the player must think on the field and tackle properly. The more (a player) bends his neck down the more likely an injury.
Examiner: What role can nutrition play in avoiding sports injuries?
Stacy: Nutrition is huge! We had a player the other day get dizzy due to the fact that he had had only a couple of chicken nuggets for lunch. It’s so important to keep a good base of nutrition. We know that kids don’t always eat as well as they should, but they need at least some sort of protein or carbohydrate in their stomach. Especially as hard as these football players are working, with the sun and the heat. We obviously try and keep them watered down.
Nutrition is huge and is really up to the player. But our team and parents do a great job of keeping them in water and then sandwiches after the game. We try and do as much as we can.
Examiner: What can players do to try and avoid sports injuries?
Stacy: Certainly strengthening and stretching exercises can help. Sometimes when a player gets injured the possibility of getting re-injured is increased due to the laxity of the muscle or ligament that is injured. So if it’s an ankle we try and tape it or if it’s a knee we try and brace it as best we can. Then throughout the season we keep them on medication and icing to keep that area as healthy as possible.
Examiner: Comment on concussions. How are they treated? What are the signs? Etc.
Stacy: When you get to know the athletes you get to know how they’re behavior. But certainly a severe hit would be the first sign of a possible concussion. But it can come from a fall as well. The initial signs are complaints of a headache and dizziness. They will normally have a confused look on their face. But it really depends on the level of concussion. Obviously with severe concussions there can be loss of consciousness. They can also become nauseated. But mainly what we see here is a lot of dizziness and headaches.
Examiner: How are they exactly cleared to play?
Stacy: We have a saying that “when in doubt, send them out” and they can’t come back until there are no more symptoms. They have to be cleared by a physician who many times will say if you don’t have symptoms by a certain date, you are cleared to go back.
My responsibility as a trainer is to take them through rigorous activity, obviously slow at first, with some cardio like riding a bike, walking or jogging. If they have no symptoms from that, we go on to more strenuous activity until they are able to return to play.
Examiner: What are some of your responsibilities as the team’s trainer?
Stacy: Well, my main job is to be there for ankle sprains or really anything that might come up. What is good here is that many of the coaches have training in the same areas. But if any injuries do occur, it is my main responsibility to judge whether the athlete can return to play or sit out. I tape them up and get them ready to go back in. And then also to rehab. Even concussions have a rehab. Everything has a rehab and steps to get back into things.