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NYU Winthrop conducts high school athletics health symposium

Communication is key.

That was the general message to the nearly 100 coaches, teachers, administrators, school nurses, physicians, athletic directors, and athletic trainers who came together at the day-long Management of the Secondary School Athlete symposium, held Wednesday at the NYU Winthrop Research and Academic Center in Mineola.

Guest speakers, which included doctors, trainers, nurses, administrators and coaches from around the state, covered topics from concussion care, to the use of game film in diagnosing injuries, to managing diabetes and allergies in athletes. It was the first edition of what organizers hope will be an annual event.

“After doing this for quite a while and seeing the disconnect between so many different entities that work with student athletes, it gave us the idea to bring all the stakeholders together to make a huge difference in how secondary student athletes are being cared for,” said Stephen Wirth, administrative director of outpatient rehab services and sports medicine at NYU Winthrop Hospital.

On the subject of concussions, former state Senator Kemp Hannon stressed that more research is necessary to adequately care for student athletes.

“The challenge of sports injuries, concussions specifically, and the rest of the health challenges remains and recurs every year,” Hannon said. “This [symposium] is a group split between people who have been involved in school athletics for a while and some who are pretty new at this. You need to have this because there’s not other place for it. It’s a good thing that Winthrop stepped in to provide this information.”

Garden City High School football coach Dave Ettinger spoke about the use of game film and how it can greatly aid diagnosing and treating injuries within a game. During a Long Island high school football games, plays can be transmitted to an iPad on the sideline using a game film service, Ettinger said.

“It gives our athletic trainer instant feedback on what happened,” Ettinger said. “Instead of just taking the athletes description of the injury, they’re able to watch the video and get some clues as to what happened from the video.”

Ettinger also stressed the importance of having properly-fitting equipment, especially in football.        

“Although we won’t be able to get rid of [injuries] completely, having a properly-fitted helmet and having shoulder pads that fit properly can help in keeping athletes safer,” Ettinger said.

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