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Everybody Wins

By Betsa Marsh

Bright lights. Frenzied cheers. Air as crisp as Jonathan apples.

Fall means Friday football fever in stadiums across the land. On the sidelines at Wayne High School in Huber Heights, among the cheerleaders and coaches, there’s another powerful force pulling for the Warriors.

The entire medical expertise of Good Samaritan Hospital’s Sports Medicine Center is backing up each player, from conditioning through recovery. They stand ready in the persons of Nik Berger, MS, ATC/L, head athletic trainer, and team physicians Robert Harrington, MD, and James Klosterman, MD, who was named 2007 Collegiate Team Physician of the Year by the Ohio Athletic Training Association.

A Healthy Partnership

athlete - trainer
Head athletic trainer Nik Berger checks the healing of Wayne High School quarterback Braxton Miller’s leg injury.
In a partnership between Huber Heights City Schools and Good Samaritan Hospital, the schools receive athletic training and sports medicine services from the hospital as well as funds for school athletic programs and health and nutrition education. In exchange, Good Samaritan is given naming rights to the high school stadium and athletic fields and works with the school on other cooperative marketing programs.

Wayne has used some of its partnership funds for new stadium turf, as well as upgrades to athletic fields and facilities for male and female athletes across all sports.

“Running on rubber gives me an extra boost,” says quarterback Braxton Miller. “When I cut to make my moves, it sticks in my cleats and lets me make them quicker and better.”

On-site Experts

SM Drs
Ready to assist the Wayne football team are Nik Berger and team physicians Dr. James Klosterman and Dr. Robert Harrington.
Under the partnership, trainer Nik Berger teams with athletes after school and, for the varsity football team, during each practice and game.

“I work with the coaches on strengthening and conditioning to decrease the incidence of muscle injury,” he says. “When a player has an injury, I make orthopedic assessments about the extent of injury and the need for referral to a physician.”

As first responder, Nik sprinted into action during the third quarter of the Warriors’ Sept. 26, 2008 game against Northmont. Miller was down with a leg injury.

“When it first happened, I dropped a couple of tears, it hurt so bad,” recalls the high-profile recruit as a sophomore. An on-field evaluation revealed the injury was more than a routine ankle sprain. With the help of the host Northmont medical staff, Braxton was whisked by golf cart to a waiting car for the trip to the Sports Medicine Center at Good Samaritan North Health Center.

Fast, Coordinated Response

athlete“Within an hour, we had Braxton’s injury stabilized,” says Dr. Klosterman. “This coordination enabled us to treat him in a timely manner without a long wait in the emergency room on a Friday night.”

“We pride ourselves on turn-around time,” Nik adds. “Our goal is for a referral to the physician, any necessary tests and a first physical therapy treatment, if appropriate, within 24 hours. The time has been shortened dramatically.”

The sports medicine partnership creates that continuum of care. And sometimes, it’s as simple as seeing an injury happen. “In terms of mechanism, it’s tremendously helpful,” says Robert Harrington, MD, who was at the Sept. 26 game, too. “If you see a knee bend, for instance, you have a pretty good idea what had to give to let it move that way.”

“Our relationship with Good Samaritan is everything that a school could ask for and more. Nik Berger is absolutely the best with our students, parents and coaches. He goes far beyond the expectations of a high school athletic trainer. The doctors are first class and extremely professional. The Good Samaritan staff really cares about student athletes first and foremost,” says Jay Minton, Wayne High School athletic director.

By early November Braxton was healing, with an eye to the playoffs. His return to the team would come under the careful watch of Good Samaritan doctors and trainers. “Nik’s caring, and if you need treatment, he’ll stay and help you with it,” Miller says of Berger. “He’s really special.”

If you have a sports injury at any age, take advantage of the expertise of the Good Samaritan Hospital Sports Medicine Center and call (937) 734-5720.

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