How Ohio State athletic trainers treat sports injuries through community partnerships

McKenna Teague, AT, and Tom Evans, MS, AT, both athletic trainers at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, advise an Upper Arlington High School athlete.

Have you ever noticed an athletic trainer run onto the field or court at during a high school sports game to care for an injured athlete? For multiple school districts in central Ohio, the person providing that care for student-athletes is from Ohio State Sports Medicine.

Our goal at Ohio State Sports Medicine is to extend the elite-level of care that’s available to Ohio State’s collegiate athletes and in our clinics to the local communities. We do this through our comprehensive Sports Medicine Outreach Program.

By partnering with schools and community organizations, we can provide access to Ohio State’s team of experts including physicians, athletic trainers, strength coaches, physical therapists, sports nutritionists and mental health experts.

Athletic trainers play an important role in Sports Medicine Outreach

Our licensed athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating injuries that result from physical activity. Many collaborate exclusively with our multiple partner schools across central Ohio, including:

  • Big Walnut Schools
  • Columbus City Schools
  • Columbus School for Girls
  • Granville Schools
  • Licking Heights Schools
  • Olentangy Local Schools
  • Upper Arlington Schools
Katelyn Dilley, MS, AT, an athletic trainer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, helps a student athlete at Upper Arlington High School
Katelyn Dilley, MS, AT, an athletic trainer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, guides a student athlete through strength training exercises.

“I love that our team can provide such comprehensive and immediate care for all our athletes,” says McKenna Teague, AT, the Outreach Services trainer for Hastings Middle School in Upper Arlington. “We are always able to get our athletes seen and cared for in no time at all, and as a (future) parent, I know how much relief this brings to the child and their families to know they are safe.”

In coordination with the team physicians, athletic trainers are responsible for the day-to-day health care of student-athletes, including injury prevention and assessment, concussion testing, rehabilitation and the development of emergency action plans (EAPs). Athletic trainers have extensive background and education in managing sports-related injuries and medical conditions that are serious or life-threatening. EAPs are a critical part of maintaining athlete safety.

Katelyn Dilly, MS, AT, and McKenna Teague, AT, supervise athletes training at Upper Arlington High School
Katelyn Dilley, MS, AT, and McKenna Teague, AT, supervise athletes training at Upper Arlington High School.

During practices and on game days, our athletic trainers can be found on the sidelines, keeping a watchful eye on their athletes. Should an injury occur, the AT will evaluate the athlete, provide immediate treatment and refer the athlete to a sports medicine provider or other specialist if needed.

“The most rewarding part of the job is being able to be there to assist an athlete throughout the entire injury process,” says Kelsey Newman, AT, who currently provides Outreach Services at Olentangy Berlin High School. “Typically, you are the first person they see when an injury occurs, and many times must be the one to give them bad news. However, there is nothing like the moment that they are fully recovered and able to return to their sport after injury.”

Sports Medicine Outreach staff provides medical care for various Ohio State University programs, such as club sports at The Ohio State University, the Ohio State Department of Dance and the Ohio State ROTC program. Our Outreach staff can also be found on the sidelines at Capital University and Denison University.

Communication is key to providing optimal care for student-athletes

Ohio State Sports Medicine’s team approach ensures each athlete receives the care they need. Excellent communication is a key factor allowing our professional providers to work as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Megan Giesige, MS, AT, works with a student at Upper Arlington High School
Megan Giesige, MS, AT, examines a student athlete’s ankle to test ankle mobility.

After an injury, athletes are typically seen in one of our sports medicine clinics within 24 hours. When specialized care is needed, ATs, physicians, orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists collaborate throughout the process to help the athlete safely return to their sport.

“I love the team aspect of everything we do at Ohio State Sports Medicine. The relationships I have with the sports medicine doctors, physical therapists, and all outreach athletic trainers is second to none,” explains Eric Travoli, MS, AT, who cares for student-athletes at Olentangy Liberty High School. “We all work well together and go beyond to get our student athletes the care that they need. It also helps when we have an incredibly supportive management staff at Ohio State that backs us up and encourages us along the way.”

Of course, the emphasis on communication extends to the student-athetes, their families and the schools.

“We communicate daily with student athletes, their parents, sport coaches, high school administration, and our own health care peers and personnel,” says Tom Evans, AT, who is based at Upper Arlington High School. “These open lines of communication are vital in ensuring we can provide coverage for the coaches’ practices and games, ensuring that student athletes and their parents understand the injury and treatment plan going forward, and working with team physicians to provide further proper care if it is deemed necessary.”

Tom Evans, AT, chats with a student-athlete at Upper Arlington High School.
Tom Evans, AT, performs an eye tracking test during a concussion evaluation with student-athlete at Upper Arlington High School.

Our athletic trainers facilitate educational opportunities for coaches and athletes

Equally important to care is the education provided by Outreach staff. Our highly specialized team of sports medicine experts regularly present at our partner organizations on a range of topics from mental health, strength training and performance, nutrition and more.

For coaches, Ohio State Sports Medicine provides state-mandated training on fundamentals like CPR and sports first aid. We work to ensure every coach has a working knowledge of how to recognize a problem. For example, if an athlete is suffering from heat exhaustion or a concussion, we teach coaches how to identify the issue and activate an emergency action plan.

Sports Medicine Outreach provides care for community organizations and tactical units, too.

In addition to high school and university partnerships, Ohio State Outreach staff are actively involved in the community, providing medical coverage for organizations and events such as BalletMet, Columbus Eastside and Westside Running Clubs, Pelotonia and Special Olympics.

Through our Tactical Athlete program, we have extended our Outreach efforts to include specialized sports medicine services for the Franklin County Sheriff Office, UA Fire Department, Mifflin Township Fire, Gahanna Police, Plain Township Fire and other public safety departments.

Fire responders benefit from physical therapy that treats them like elite athletes

These partnerships allow us to work with diverse organizations and extend the exceptional resources and care available at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center to support the needs of our community.

If your team or group would like to partner with Ohio State Sports Medicine, please contact us at

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