Football season is only a few weeks away but with the big catches and tackles also come some pretty nasty injuries.
Fall football camp is in full swing at Dakota Wesleyan University. While coaches and players hone their skills for the upcoming season, every play and tackle puts athletes at risk.
"Injuries are not a question of if, but when." Said head coach Ross Cimpl.
That's where the Avera Queen of Peace's Sports Medicine Team comes into play. They watch from the sidelines, ready to help when injuries strike. Making life a little easier on Coach Cimpl.
"It's a very rigorous schedule, there's heat, there's soreness that comes into play and being able to have resources that we can use from a medical standpoint is very valuable to us." Said Coach Cimpl.
Dr. John Swisher heads up the team of Avera athletic trainers, orthopedic surgeons, and physical therapists who are responsible for care and treatment of athletes in the Mitchell area.
Dr. Swisher has worked closely with DWU football players specifically to make sure they are ready for the toll the season will put on their bodies. While he believes sports injuries are becoming more prevalent, Dr. Swisher says it's not just because athlete's aren't prepared.
"I think it's that we're more aware of them from an athletic training standpoint and a physician standpoint we're getting out there more often now and acquiring more knowledge on that and identifying them more in athletes." Said Dr. Swisher.
Dr. Swisher's team at DWU is looking at prevention techniques and also base line studies for sports related injuries. Concussions are a hot topic right now among doctors and athletes alike. The injuries can be hard to diagnose but by having a sports medicine team on hand at all times, injured athletes won't be rushed back on to the field and put at risk.
"When you return an athlete to the field the term I like to use is functionality. Is the athlete functional, meaning can they protect themselves and not worsen their injury or predispose to another injury. So getting an athlete back to play, sure they want to get back quick but it's also about getting back safe." Said Dr. Swisher.
Coach Cimpl himself has had reconstructive knee surgery. Like every coach he wants to win, but not at the expense of his players' health.
With the sports medicine team ready to go when the whistle blows, the Tigers have a little advantage both on and off the football field this upcoming season.
"Having people available to look at our guys and give them different treatments and rehab situations is something that's very valuable not only to coaches but for our players to when they do have those injuries to get back on the field in a timely manner." Said Coach Cimpl.
In addition to working with Dakota Wesleyan Athletes, Dr. Swisher will also be working with other local athletic directors and coaches to discuss how to meet the medical needs of their student athletes.
For more information about the Avera Queen of Peace sports medicine team just call 877-at-avera.