Lynn Haven, FL --- There's contact sports, there's collision sports, and then there's football. The game holds a constant potential to be ruthless, punishing, and unforgiving on the human body. And there is not a lack of injuries on the high school level. Treating bruises to broken bones usually falls on the schools' athletic trainers.
On the football field, an injury can happen in an instant. Be it a minor tweak, or a major setback. For Bay county schools, their athletic programs as a whole benefit from the individual attention they receive from personal trainers that get the kids the best care they can give.
For the last ten years, Gulf Coast Medical Center's Ray Morris has served as the athletic trainer for the Mosley Dolphins. His relationship between the team and the hospital provide athlete's with reliable and immediate medical treatment.
Morris says, "We have a connection to the hospital and the local doctors where we can help the kids get in quicker for doctor visits, x-rays, MRI's. Things like that."
Diagnosing the injury properly is as important as ever, especially when it comes to concussions. Morris says with new research, comes new ways of tackling head injuries.
"I think they're treating it the right way now. I think finally they've got a handle on it and they've got some good protocols. Up until the last couple years, the protocols were changing, but not everyone was kept up to date with them. There is no judgment calls anymore. There is no 'Oh, you just got your bell rung, get back out on the field.' There is a concussion, you are typically gonna be out for a minimum of five days. There is no getting around it."
Because he's able to work closer with the Mosley students, it allows him to not only treat them better, but know them better.
"I actually feel like I know some of these kids, and I don't want this to sound wrong, but I feel like I know some of these kids better than maybe some of their teachers because I don't have them in the classroom, I have them outside the classroom where I sit and I have time to talk to them on a personal level and get to know them. Some of the them I feel like they're part of the family.
As tough as it is for him to see the kids he cares for go down when battling on the gridiron, Morris knows he needs to keep calm and collected to diagnose and injury right.
"So first it's hope it's nothing serious. Second, it is just keep your cool. You lose your cool, they lose their cool. So first thing you do is calm the situation and get them to relax and you'll get a better evaluation. You get a better answer.
Getting the best info about the injuries means not only can the kids begin their path to recovery, but can work their way back into action sooner.
Now that football season is ending, athletic trainers now will be working mostly with soccer and basketball players.