ARTICLE VIA RIIL's CAROLYN THORNTON, RIIL Director of Multimedia Content:
When the bell rings to signal the end of the school day at Mt. Hope High School, Kristina Keddie's job is really only just beginning. As the athletic trainer to the Huskies' 22 sports teams, the 26-year-old's responsibilities are many.
"My daily activities," she said, "consist of taping the kids before practice, making sure all the waters get out, that their equipment's ready. And then covering the games, covering the practices, making sure if someone gets injured, I'm there. Concussion testing. Rehabbing. All of the above."
Frankly, said Mt. Hope athletic director Christy Belisle, "We wouldn't be able to do what we do without her. We couldn't be more grateful for what she does."
Keddie's efforts have not gone unnoticed. In just her second year as Mt. Hope's trainer, she has received the Gatorade Secondary School Athletic Trainer Award for District I. The honor is presented to a certified athletic trainer from each of the National Athletic Trainers' Association's 10 districts throughout the country "who has made outstanding contributions in furthering his or her high school's athletic care program or the overall profession of secondary school athletic training." She will be honored at the Eastern Athletic Trainers Association Annual Meeting next month in Philadelphia.
It can be a challenge to keep Mt. Hope's 600 student-athletes injury free, says Keddie. She offers two simple pieces of advice to help them stay off the sidelines.
"Hydrate way more than they do because 90 percent of the high school athletes right now are not drinking enough water," she said. And when they're not properly hydrated "they cramp and they don't feel well and they're getting sick during practices.
"Athletes also need to understand how important stretching is. College athletes and pro athletes, they spend that time stretching, swimming in the pool … It sounds silly, but something as simple as stretching and drinking water is a way to help take care of your body."
Keddie says it is also important for the athletes to communicate with her if they think something's going on rather than ignore an injury or just try to play through it.
"We educate our athletes that they have to come up and tell us," she said. "It could be nothing. It could be because they didn't drink enough water or they ate something bad, but we stress to them that it's very important that they tell me and then we can handle it that way. It's more important to miss one practice or two practices than your entire season and potentially more than that."