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Area athletes are in good hands

Thursday, September 23, 2010

If the motto of the police department is to protect and serve, then the motto for the Cox Health athletic trainers would be to prevent and rehab.

"The individuals we help are more than just the high school athletes," said Cox Athletic Trainer Greg Gilmore. "An athlete can be the 40 year old who runs five miles daily or the individual who works out to stay in shape. Our job is to help people who deal with pain or discomfort from these activities."

Cox's trainers view education as a major part of their mission.

"Education is a key element in what we are about," Gilmore said. "If we can help prevent injuries, we help save individuals time and money."

Gilmore said the number of sports injuries has not decreased over the years. However, the ability to quickly and correctly diagnose and treat the problems has dramatically improved.

"We have seen a rise in recent years with the number of concussions being reported," Gilmore said. "Does that mean there were fewer occurring 25 years ago? Absolutely not. Years ago when a player would complain about being dizzy and having a headache after a hit, he was liable to be told he just got his bell rung a little, he would be fine and sent back into the game. We now recognize the symptoms and warning signs of concussions and can start treatment sooner.

"Developing positive relationships with patients, school coaches and athletes is key," Gilmore added. "This is a hard job if you do not like people. As a trainer you must be committed to continual learning and be comfortable working in front of people."

Gilmore must be able to respond to an injured athlete on the field when there may be as many as 1,000 fans watching in the stands.

"Not that many people have that kind of pressure in their job," Gilmore said.

"I have worked with the Monett school district for three years and have spent a tremendous amount of time cultivating relationships with the coaches, trying to get to know them on a personal level and working with them to develop programs that will benefit their respective teams," Gilmore said.

Spending time with the Monett coaches has given Gilmore the opportunity to get to know them and develop positive relationships.

"Monett's coaches are wonderful to work with," Gilmore said. "They are eager to listen and implement suggestions that are made. We have tried to work on areas that traditionally have been neglected.

"Everyone knows that exercise and working out are key ways to get fit," Gilmore said. "We try to develop a working plan with each coach with emphasis on proper nutrition, stretching, pulling and weight lifting, developing an injury awareness and therapy program that improves the athlete's ability to get back on the field more quickly."

Nutrition is an area that Gilmore specifically mentioned that often times is neglected.

"Proper nutrition is huge for anyone, especially for athletes," Gilmore said. "Imagine driving a car then filling its gas tank with diesel. It is not going to work very well. In similar fashion when an athlete consumes junk food the body won't function properly. Whether the body is trying to recover from an injury or from lifting weights it needs the proper nutrients.

"We can't promise the athletes that we can make them run faster, jump higher and score more points," Gilmore continued. "We can however, help them improve through proper recovery, flexibility and training. We will help you set attainable goals and help you achieve them."

Gilmore said dealing with people is the best part of his job.

"I am a people person," Gilmore said. "For the athletic trainer, success is not measured by the number of championships won by teams you are affiliated with. Success is determined by the number of athletes that are safe and healthy."



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