Grateful Mom: Athletic Trainer 'Cares So Much About the Kids’
June 28, 2018
Griffin Allis "lived" football.
Every aspect of his life revolved around weight training and practices. His mother, Breeana Allis, planned family vacations around the football schedule.
Griff, a Papillion South junior, started playing football when he was 8 years old. He transferred to Papillion South his freshman year so he could play in the Titan football program.
"We were so excited about the program and being part of such an awesome team," said Breeana. "My son and I have had high hopes of playing at a collegiate level."
Then, on Sept. 1, 2017, their lives changed.
Griff took a huge hit during a football game that left him dazed and disoriented on the field. CHI Health Athletic Trainer Elizabeth Norman, ATC, LAT, was ready to assess Griff as he came off the field. Based on what she saw, she texted Breeana from the sidelines to come down to the field.
"My son is pretty tough," said Breeana. "He has endured pulled muscles, tendons and stitches … but I had never been called to the field during a varsity football game!"
Liz explained that Griff was having some trouble breathing and "just didn’t seem right." The coaches and athletic training staff advised that he be evaluated further by a doctor. Griff was taken by ambulance to CHI Health Midlands, where he was diagnosed with a severe concussion. It was his third concussion since playing football.
After seeing his pediatrician and a concussion specialist, it was strongly suggested that Griffin should not return to the football field again.
"Griffin was devastated," said Breeana. "He was not sure of 'who he was' without football. Some days we were not sure if he would make it through his junior year. He became very depressed. He also began to suffer from anxiety attacks frequently during the school day."
The straight-A student-athlete slipped into a "fog." Breeana credits Liz’s attention and support with helping him through trying times this past year.
Griffin would go to the trainers’ office and talk to Liz, sometimes on a daily basis.
"Liz took the time to talk to Griffin and reassure him that things would get better," said Breeana. "She also allowed him to hang out on the sidelines with her during practice. This was a huge morale boost for Griffin during this time."
Liz was a huge support for Breeana, too.
"She kept in contact with me via text message to let me know how Griffin was doing," recalls Breeana. "She would even check in with me after Saturday practices/games to see how things were going."
"There are no words to express my gratitude for someone like Liz Norman," Breeana added. "Being a single mother - you sometimes have to depend on other people to 'help' in times of need. She not only helped my son, she helped me to understand a bit of what he was going through while on the sidelines of the football field."
Liz, said Breanna, is not just a trainer; she is a friend. She helps Griffin on his road to recovery.
"She cares so much about the kids that she works with -- I can’t think of anyone else I would rather have to treat my son or daughter while at Papio South. She is truly an asset to the staff at Papio South," said Breeana. "When you have the pleasure of working with someone who truly cares about their job and the people they are treating – well, other people should know about it."