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HEALTHBEAT 4: Trainers keep athletes at top of their game

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -- Injuries are a common occurrence for many athletes and often can be a deciding factor of their success.

To help make sure they are at the top of their game physically, athletic trainers are there to help.

March recognizes the importance of those athletic trainers.

Caleb Winter is no stranger to seeing an athletic trainer.

"Pretty much since I was a freshman," Caleb Winter said. "Since I've been in sports sometimes I get injuries."

One of his more serious injuries? Tearing part of his soleus muscle in his calf last year.

"So as a soccer player, that's huge," CNOS Certified and Licensed Athletic Trainer Abbey Johnston said. "It helps you to plant or flex your foot or point your foot down, kind of like a gas pedal. So think about going about your day, not being able to to flex your foot downward, pushing on the gas pedal. And then try to play soccer."

So having an athletic trainer along the way, has been incredibly important for him.

"The healing is a lot faster," Winter said. "You eventually recover and get on the field very quickly and you can get back to playing."

What exactly does an athletic trainer do?

"So if the kids are injured, if they've got aches and pains and sores, we can make their lives easier and better," Johnston said. "Also, if it's kind of a slow season, we can work to prevent injuries with strength and conditioning aspects, as well as just making sure the athlete is moving properly."

Johnston said they're trained and educated in five different domains:
Acute or immediate/emergency care, prevention of injuries or illness, clinical examination or evaluation and diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, and patient well being and education.

"It's super nice to have," Johnston said. "I think, athletic trainers at the disposal of these athletes that are sometimes elite athletes you know going to the next level."

Today, Winter is back on the field. He said he has his athletic trainers to thank for that quick recovery.

"It's actually really important," Winter said. "You're back to helping your team and basically getting back to winning games and doing what you can do."

Johnston said the recovery time and the type of treatment depends on what kind of injury you have.

She said she's treated someone for as long as a day, to a week, to a few months.

Michaela Feldmann

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