Belton’s athletic training room state of the art
Thursday, 23 August 2012 by David Tuma
There have been so many changes the past three or four years at Belton High School it is hard to keep pace with the improvements. From real stands to sit on at Belton's baseball stadium the covered seating areas at the soccer fields improvements are happening.
The biggest misconception is we did this or we did that or ours was this or they don't need that. Belton High School's training staff provided over 10,000 treatments last year and were at 714 different sporting events serving 914 athletes.
Let those numbers sink for just a moment.
There are three license trainers at Belton High School, Craig Bower, Jerry Pate and Chris Hargrove. The trio has 70 years of experience in serving the community.
They work with 21 different sports and have the help of 10 student trainers. There are well over 700 junior high athletes that they provide service for. From teaching coaches how to perform CPR to hydration of athletes and the coaching staffs both on and off the field the training staff at BHS is a busy place to be.
In terms of injuries Belton High School has been under the national average for the past 20 years. Proper hydration and injury preventive measures are part of that trend. "The weight room and summer workouts we do will cut down on injuries in the regular seasons. If you have a pitcher that isn't in shape his mechanics drop as the game wears on. We have kids we are dealing with that are 6-4, 230 and 14-years old. They are not adults yet but they look like it, but they are not adults. What we specialize in is proper hydration, eating right and how to wear the equipment," said Bower.
Sports medicine is the cutting edge of medicine in many areas. The scoping of knees and shoulders was ahead of the times. The U.S. Military is using some sports techniques in dealing with head injuries.
"Rehabilitation of injured athletes is part of what we do on a daily basis. If you get them back on the field too early it can hurt them. Doing proper rehabilitation workouts is key to success," said Bower.
Everything about Belton's new Athletic Complex is first class and way ahead of everybody else. At the old barn building they had two small whirlpools and used ice troughs to ice down players. And they did it all by hand every day. At the new facility they have two large enclosed whirlpools one that is ice cold and the other heated. They are enclosed for sanitation reason and it makes it easier to breath when treating other athletes.
From cross-country to football players they would immerse the players in ice after a workout. "What people don't realize is we will use the ice whirlpool three times more than the heated one. Cooling down the body is a key to recovery. It reduces those lower leg injuries. Once cross-country started using the ice they were not going to not use it. The basketball team started using it last year and they could see a difference. Have an actual ice whirlpool should cut down on ice use by a ton a day," said Bower. The new whirlpools can hold 11 athletes per unit. The ice one is 52 degrees and the heated one is 104.
"It gives us more tools to serve them. The body is going to heal itself we just put it the best environment to heal. We don't heal anybody here. We look at the long-term goals to help a kid. I don't what them to have a football knee at 40," said Bower.
Injuries are part of sports and last year Belton's staff dealt with 23 surgeries and worked with athletes and their doctors on recovery. Some of those injuries were when Belton players were playing on club teams that feed into Belton's top ranked sports teams. The team physicians are Dr. Derek Lichota and Dr. George Bartels. Both are experienced in sports medicine and active in the community.
"The showers in the facility are much easier to clean and we have real shower here at this facility. This facility is a great place for the proper care for kids. There are other places that are better but not in Central Texas," said Bower. "The whirlpool spas are similar to what the Big 12 schools have."
"The building is clean, fresh and state of the art. We can take care of a lot more athletes effectively. Without a doubt it is one of the best of its kind in the state. The kids are excited and our old facility was outdated and undersized," said Pate.
"We finally have a 5A sports facility to go with our 5A school district," said Hargrove. "When people come here and see the commitment this community has to their kids there is an intimidation factor now," said Bower.
Pate grew up in Belton and graduated from BHS.