Dr. Steve Jordan of the Andrews Institute in Gulf Breeze can’t put a price tag on the impact the facility’s Sports Medicine Outreach Program has had on high school athletes in a four-county area.
But in the end, it’s not about dollars and cents. It’s about doing the right thing for student-athletes.
“It’s that commitment to doing the right thing and putting kids first,” Jordan said. “We treat people with or without insurance. It was important to Dr. (James) Andrews to have this program, and the name recognition has allowed us to grow into what we are today.”
Sports outreach in this area was launched in 1997 when Baptist Health Care started providing athletic training coverage to high schools in Escambia County. Saturday morning athletic injury clinics started that same year.
By 2000, contracted sports medicine coverage started in high schools in Escambia and five years later, the same service was made available to Santa Rosa County High Schools. Two years later, the outreach program began its affiliation with the Andrews Institute.
A decade later, schools in Okaloosa and Walton counties now have contracted sports medicine coverage. Every school has a certified athletic trainer because of the program and the difference they make hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“Having people at the schools to advocate for the kids is a big help,” Dr. Adam Anz said. “Sometimes you have coaches and parents pushing athletes and they don’t understand what their bodies go through. Having athletic trainers in the schools gives us ears on the ground.”
Anz said the presence of trainers at practices and games has changed the approach to treating an injury.
“I remember growing up and someone would ask if you were injured or hurt,” Anz said. “It’s hard for kids to know something like that. It’s hard for a coach to know that. The trainers are there to make sure we don’t miss things.”
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