Browns lead medical team physician Sean Cupp spent Friday at James F. Rhodes High School in an effort to highlight the NFL Foundation's Athletic Trainer program.
In conjunction with the Cleveland Browns and University Hospitals, the program provides two certified athletic trainers at Cleveland Metropolitan School District's Rhodes and John Hay high schools, whose football teams faced off this weekend. And Cupp and other Browns personnel were on site to recognize the grant and what it means.
"Athletic trainers are very important at our high school football games because they're the first responders any time an athlete is injured," Cupp said, "whether it's a medical or orthopedic problem and they're the first one to report to us as medical physicians what's going on the sidelines."
Beginning in 2014, the grant provided John Hay and Rhodes certified trainers in David Silverstein and Stacey Gainer as its staff, respectively.
Gainer and Silverstein will help provide yearround quality medical care on and off the field to the more than 18 sports programs and 600 youth competing in interscholastic athletics at the two high schools, which previously did not have the resources to retain ATC.
"I've said before this program is a godsend to me personally. I used to have to be athletic director, parent, doctor, nurse, trainer, everything all in one," Rhodes athletic director Cheri Dzuro said. "And having Stacey here allows me to do the job I need to do and focus on that and knowing that the athletes are being taken care of … the kids definitely appreciate her, they've bonded with her."
According to the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA), only approximately 50 percent of high school students nationwide have access to a full-time certified athletic trainer (ATC), who play an important role in keeping young athletes safe.
A recent study from the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that the presence of athletic trainers can have a significant impact on student-athlete health, resulting in lower injury rates, improved diagnosis and return-to-play decisions for concussion and other injuries, as well as fewer recurrent injuries. Access to ATCs is particularly challenging in low-income and rural communities.
The Browns and University Hospitals are dedicated to increasing player health and safety at the youth and high school levels. Through camps, clinics and other football-based initiatives, the team promotes healthy, social, emotional, intellectual and physical development of youth by enhancing opportunities for participation and education through our youth football platform.