Go Get Marcus! - CHI Health, Omaha, Nebraska (NE)

Student-athlete Kristine Deseck bonded with Alegent Health athletic trainer Marcus Hurrington during an athletic training program at Papillion-LaVista High School a few years ago. The following summer, she saw Marcus working a first aid station at her club volleyball tournament in Kansas City.

So naturally, she thought of him when she rolled her ankle later during a game and crumpled in pain to the gym floor. She called to the sidelines, “Go get Marcus, Mom!”

“Marcus came running to the court to help Kristine,” said Laurie Deseck. “Kristine told me later she felt more confident and calm because Marcus was there. As a mom, it made me feel better to see how much she trusts him.”

Better yet, the day after the Desecks returned home, Kristine started physical therapy for her badly sprained ankle right at school, under Marcus’ care. “Kristine recovered more quickly than anyone expected,” said Mrs. Deseck. “While Marcus is there to help kids recover from injuries, he preaches a lot to them about how to prevent injuries.”

“I make sure we prevent as many injuries as we can, but if someone does get hurt, I work to get them back to being injury-free and to prevent a recurrence,” said Marcus.

Marcus Hurrington is among 15 Alegent Creighton Health certified athletic trainers working at 14 Omaha area high schools to help prevent sports injuries, says Ashley Hinze, team leader, Alegent Creighton Health Sports Medicine.

“We started the athletic trainer program at the urging of physicians who were seeing an increasing number of sports injuries in students,” said Hinze.

Alegent Creighton Health invested $430,257 in fiscal year 2012 to fund 86 percent of the athletic trainer program. The contracted school districts paid the remaining expense, said Hinze. She said the athletic trainers work at the forefront of research and techniques to decrease injuries. For example, the number of ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries in students, especially girls, is being decreased through a jump-training program called Sportsmetrics™.

Last summer, Marcus gave every Papillion-LaVista football player baseline tests in ImPACT™, a computer assessment to evaluate concussions. If a player gets hurt, the baseline is compared with a post-concussion test to see if he is healed and able to resume play, Marcus said.

“I can’t overstate how much Marcus means to our program,” said Chuck Johnston, Papillion-LaVista athletic/ activities director. “He is a relationship person, a great balance of being a teddy bear figure and also being able to scold kids, to tell them ‘you’re not doing this and you need to do this.’ ” Johnston makes sure that new student-athletes and families meet Marcus right away “so we can show parents how well we treat their children.”

“We’re very appreciative of Alegent Creighton Health's partnership in helping us provide this for our kids,” said Johnston. “Our athletic program would be diminished without it.”