Concord Orthopaedics On the Field with High School Athletes
Passion for Sports Leads to Volunteerism for Concord Orthopaedics Staff
On a fall night you’re just as likely to find a member of the Concord Orthopaedics team on the sidelines at a football game as you are to find them at the office.
Dr. Patrick Casey and other members of Concord Orthopaedics volunteer their time to help the athletic trainers of Merrimack Valley, Bishop Brady, Concord High, Pinkerton Academy, Proctor Academy, Kearsarge and St. Paul’s School.
“We volunteer to do it. We enjoy working with young athletes. We have a fun time,” Dr. Casey said. “There’s nothing like a beautiful night and to have high school football. It’s a lot of fun. We work closely with the trainers who obviously follow these athletes during the week and see them during the week.”
According to Dr. Casey, clinical decision making (using knowledge of the patient and evidence of the injury) is key when working a sporting event.
“We don’t have the luxury of X-ray or MRI or anything on the sidelines. It’s all really clinical decision making. And obviously we want to do what’s best and safe for the athlete,” he said. “As the games go on and there are playoff games, the players want to play and the coaches want them to play, but we want to do what’s safe for them. We do our clinical exam as best we can and if there’s any doubt, we hold them out.”
There is a fine line to walk because an athlete might be trying too hard to return to action.
“If you’ve done this for a few years -- and unfortunately, I’m getting older so I’ve done it for more and more years – you get a sense of what is serious and what (injury) needs to sit out and what can continue to play,” Dr. Casey said. “The athletes always pushes back because they want to play and they want to be in the game. There’s an element of trust that has to develop over time for the athlete to know you’re (working) in their best interest and if they have a hangnail, you’re not going to hold them out for that.”
Sometimes making the right call can be tough since the extent of the injury might not be fully understood right away. That’s when the familiarity of athletic trainers with their student-athletes comes in handy.
“Shoulder injuries we see a lot of. Shoulder dislocations, shoulder subluxation, AC separations, those are all clinical decision making. If a kid tears his ACL, he’s done for the game for sure,” Dr. Casey said. “There’s more of an emphasis on having athletic trainers at schools and games because they can care for the athletes at practices.”
Dr. Casey said he enjoys working with the young athletes.
“It’s something we do because we’re passionate about sports and passionate about safety for the athletes,” he said.