Full-time trainer to HCHS

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Amanda Crawford is provided to Henry Co. through partnership with Baptist Hospital Northeast in La Grange

By Tommie Kendall

With its new fieldhouse completed less than two years ago, a new practice gym ready for use this fall and now a full-time athletic trainer, Henry County High School has upgraded its sports program more than a few notches.

Amanda Crawford, the athletic trainer provided through Henry’s partnership with Baptist Hospital Northeast, started working full-time following spring break last March and continues her position into this school year. Baptist Northeast pays Crawford’s salary in return for promoting the hospital, which also provides athletic trainers for Oldham County, South Oldham and North Oldham.

Crawford graduated from Trimble County High School in 2003 and Eastern Kentucky University in 2008 with a degree in Athletic Training. Following college graduation, she passed the certification test to become a trainer, applied for and received a position at Baptist Northeast in December and was eventually named the new athletic trainer for Henry County High School.

Crawford said she will work closely with the varsity teams, attending practices and games daily to help prevent and care for injuries.

“They were looking for someone to staff at Henry County after they built the fieldhouse and I wanted to get back closer to home so it worked out really well,” said Crawford, who moved to New Castle two weeks ago, just a few miles away from HCHS.

As an athletic trainer, Crawford will deal with treatment rehabilitation, care prevention and a wide range of athletic injuries. Some athletes will be treated at school, while others will be treated at the hospital. Crawford has an office in the new fieldhouse, located next to the home stands on the football field.

During the fall, Crawford has seven teams to work with — football, volleyball, boys’ soccer, girls’ soccer, boys’ golf, girls’ golf and cross-country. In the winter, she has two teams — boys’ basketball and girls’ basketball. And in the spring, she has three teams — baseball, softball and track.

With the number of injuries in football, her number one priority in the fall is in that sport. She will attend home games and matches for all varsity sports at HCHS, while also traveling for road football games. Once school starts, she will start work at around 1 p.m. each day and work through practices and/or games.

“During the summer months it’s a little confusing because nobody is practicing at the same time and I’m doing a lot of work during the days,” Crawford said. “I’ll be on more of a schedule when school starts.”

Plus, Crawford will help out the Trimble County athletes by going to that high school once per week and under special circumstances.

She jumped in head first last spring with the two basketball teams at Henry County, and will continue to make a splash with a busy fall.

The high school athletic trainer program with Baptist Northeast started 10 years ago with Oldham and South Oldham, then added North Oldham. Henry, thanks to Crawford, is now in the mix.

“A lot of your bigger high schools have athletic trainers, but usually the schools themselves employ their own trainers,” said Gary Costelle, the Rehabilitation Services and Sports Medicine Director at Baptist Northeast. “We are unique in the fact that we’re able to employ the full-time trainers with the sole responsibility to provide coverage for that high school. It’s my job to put quality people to do quality jobs at the high schools.”

Crawford met Costelle while she was in middle school during the late 1990s, when she shadowed him. Before she entered high school and later Eastern Kentucky, she already knew she wanted to become an athletic trainer.

Costelle said he had been working closely with HCHS for more than a year to get an athletic trainer at the school. After the fieldhouse was almost complete, that vision started to become a reality. All Costelle wanted, he said, was a trainer’s room for Crawford to work out of, which was provided with the new building.

The fieldhouse replaced an old weight room that was full of out-dated equipment in a cramped building located next to the bus compound in January 2008. The new building includes a 60 x 80-foot open space with an indoor turf football field previously used by the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, batting nets, new weight equipment, two locker rooms, bathrooms and a coach’s office.

Henry also added an Auxiliary Gym to ease up congestion caused by practice scheduling issues, which pointed the athletic program in the right direction. The new athletic trainer is another big step up.

“The big benefit to Henry County is it does not cost them a dime,” Costelle said. “I provide the salaries and I ask that the schools provide all the needed equipment. I don’t want them to feel obligated, which is the way I set up the program. If they aren’t happy — for whatever reason — they will still have their own equipment and everything to keep.

“Henry is about as far away from the hospital as we want this program to go,” Costelle added. “We have to keep it within a certain radius of the hospital to really benefit us. This is the best form of advertisement we’re going to get.”

E-mail us about this story at sports@hclocal.com.