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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Providing for our local athletes

Friday, September 23, 2011

Keeping them safe. Cox Monett athletic trainers, pictured above, are a vital part of area high school athletic programs. From left, are: Greg Gilmore, Pierce City; Kasey Haddock, Aurora; Amanda Stokes, Monett; and Rob Azelton, Mt. Vernon. [Times Photo by Jared Lankford]
In football, skill positions like quarterbacks, running backs and receivers, tend to get all the headlines. Lineman are like the proverbial child; better seen and not heard.

In similar fashion, athletic trainers are like lineman. They provide a valuable service and would prefer not to be in the spotlight for much of the game.

On any given night, trainers like to be a benchwarmer. They are content to observe from the sidelines but ready to spring into action when truly needed.

"First and foremost, we want to provide sports medicine for the area athletes," said Cox Monett Athletic Training Service Coordinator Greg Gilmore. "We also serve as an educational tool for athletes, coaches and parents, getting athletes ready for the physical nature of their sport and preparing athletes to return to the game after and injury."

Athletic trainers also benefit schools by removing the liability from the coaches.

"At most, some coaches have had CPR or First Aid training," said Gilmore. "With a trainer on the sidelines, you have an individual who is trained to look for and recognize injuries that maybe subtile. Most of all, it allows coaches to coach and not have to play doctor on the sidelines."

The role of an athletic trainer is more than just reactionary. Education is key.

"Take cramps for instance," explained Gilmore. "Cramps are totally preventable. We try to educate players and coaches about proper nutrition and hydration leading up to the game. We ensure that adequate hydration is present at practices to fight cramping, and we are there to assist in recovery if an athlete has a cramp."

According to Gilmore, it's the "other paychecks" he enjoys about his job.

"I enjoy working with people," said Gilmore. "When there is an injury, I am stepping into a situation to help people who are could be having the worst day of their life. Being able to work with and help them get back to an activity they love is very rewarding."

This year, Monett High School has a new athletic trainer on its sideline, and her name is Amanda Stokes.

Stokes attended New Covenant High School and is a 2009 graduate of Missouri State University.

"I am excited to be here in Monett," said Stokes. "The coaches and community have been very warm and hospitable."

Stokes describes herself as a sports fan with the only exception being the NBA.

"I want to be a reliable source of advice for the players and coaches," said Stokes. "I have an open door policy and I want help to ensure the safety of all the athletes at the high school."

Stokes has spent the last two years assisting at a high school in Troup, Texas, and wanted a job closer to home.

"This job is more than just about training," said Stokes. "It's about education and building relationships. Injuries will happen, but it's getting the people back to playing their sports and enjoying life. That is what I enjoy."

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