The essential role of school athletic trainers

Taking a look at the role of high school athletic trainers.
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 6:25 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Every day, dozens of athletes line up to see the Mayo High School’s athletic trainer, Dan Christoffer, for sports related injuries.

“He keeps notes. He’s got a laptop where they’re all recorded, and he can refer to their medical provider if he believes they need to go see a physician,” Mayo High School activities director Jeff Whitney said.

It’s a position that’s been around for about 10-15 years at Mayo, and school leaders say it’s vital for their community.

“In all honesty, I’d never do this job ever again without one,” Christoffer said.

Christoffer is sub-contracted through the Mayo Clinic, and helps get athletes ready for practice, evaluates injuries and then remains on the sidelines during competitions.

“We provide the coverage. If there are injuries, we take care of those injuries and obviously if there’s emergency care, we provide that emergency care,” Christoffer said.

“During the afternoon when we have practices going on and when we have games and events going on, they’re here to cover as many events as they can,” Whitney said.

Christoffer focuses on any medical-related concerns for the team during the game so coaches can focus on coaching.

“It takes all that off their plate, and they do not need to have to worry about the medical side of things, and they can just coach their sport,” Christoffer said.

Mayo High School has an emergency action plan set in place that shows EMS driving routes and entrances and AED locations.

At every event, Christoffer makes sure he is prepared with any medical supplies he may need. He carries a bag with an AED and other medical items on him at all games.

Christoffer says the key to developing a relationship with athletes is establishing a trust between them.

“That athlete opens up to you and says, “Hey, Dan, I don’t feel good. Can you check me out? Where am I at?”

There are Mayo Clinic-subcontracted athletic trainings at the other Rochester Public Schools as well as Lourdes High School. However, not every high school in the area has its own athletic training on site.