ACHIEVES Project Places Student Athletic Trainers in Public Schools with Amazing Results
By Catherine Probst
When an Osbourn Park High School student collapsed during a wrestling match against Forest Park High School on the night of February 2, Mason graduate student Jeane Ryder sprang into action. A certified athletic trainer, Ryder assisted Forest Park medical personnel and athletic training staff in reviving the student before he was taken to the hospital.
According to a news article published in Prince William Today, the student dropped to his knees during the match, lost consciousness, and at some point his heart stopped. After an ambulance was called, Ryder and the medical staff used an automated external defibrillator on him and began chest compressions.
“It was a very intense situation, but I felt extremely prepared and didn’t hesitate for a second when I saw that the student was in need of lifesaving medical attention,” says Ryder, BS Athletic Training Education ’11. “It is the type of situation that I train for and hope I never experience, but if and when I do, I am confident in my skills and ability to handle the situation in an effective and professional manner.”
Ryder is pursuing an MS in Exercise, Fitness, and Health Promotion in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) and has been working at Forest Park High School as an assistant athletic trainer for the past two years. She was afforded this opportunity as part of the Advancing Healthcare Initiatives for Underserved Students (ACHIEVES) project, a partnership between researchers in the college and Prince William County Public Schools.
Funded by the Potomac Health Foundation, the ACHIEVES project aims to help schools deliver more effective medical care and concussion education to student athletes, staff, coaches, and parents. Many Virginia public schools may lack the necessary resources to properly deliver concussion education.
One of the main goals of the ACHIEVES project is to provide certified athletic training graduate students from Mason’s Exercise, Fitness, and Health Promotion Program at several schools in Prince William County. Their role is to ensure that all students receive adequate medical care and concussion education.
This semester, Ryder is spending four days a week at Forest Park High School and is required to be on hand at every home game and most practices to make sure that all injuries are properly identified and treated. She says she works with students who suffer injuries that range from minor bumps and bruises to broken bones and is responsible for setting up treatment plans and referring students to appropriate health care providers, if necessary.
“I’m so thankful that the ACHIEVES project has given me the opportunity to work in a high school setting and gain the skills and experience I need to work in the field,” says Ryder. “It has been an invaluable learning opportunity, and when I graduate from Mason at the end of this semester, I feel very well prepared to take the next steps in my career.”
In addition to the ACHIEVES project, Ryder credits Mason’s Athletic Training Education Program for preparing her to effectively handle the variety of situations that can happen on the job. The program, she notes, supplied her with the practical and clinical skills to be able to perform and function efficiently in an array of athletic training practice settings.
“Jeane’s quick action and effective care is an indication of how important the ACHIEVES project is in being able to provide student-athletes with appropriate medical attention when injuries occur,” says Shane Caswell, associate professor of athletic training, director of the Sports Medicine Assessment Research and Testing Laboratory and codirector of the ACHIEVES project. “I commend everyone involved for their emergency preparedness and professionalism in delivering rapid lifesaving medical care.”
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