Healing Hands For Injured Athletes: The Franklin Sports Clinic

A clinic student wraps an ankle. Student in the Franklin clinic learn how to prevent and treat athletic injuries. Photo by Emily Cornejo.

High school athletics are dangerous. Ask any high school soccer player, and they will tell you. Professional sports have doctors who have million dollar contracts, so what does Franklin have?

Franklin’s Clinic is composed of the beloved athletic trainer, Stephanie Lyda, as well as the Clinic students. After taking several years of sports medicine and anatomy-based classes, students have the opportunity to take part in Clinic, an after school internship. They work around six hours a week and assist Stephanie in many ways: helping to demonstrate physical therapy stretches, providing aid at sports games, and keeping up the spirits of injured student-athletes.

Clinic students use the skills they have learned in past classes, and implement them in a hands-on learning environment. But it’s not all glamour—clinic students also see what happens after the athlete leaves,the paperwork and laundry, and lots of it. Students get a full scope view of what life as an athletic trainer would be like.

Emily Cornejo (12) is one of this year’s Clinic students. Cornejo attends Clinic multiple days a week and helps out at football games, while also being on the varsity soccer team and keeping up in her regular classes.  It’s not an easy thing to do, but Cornejo believes it’s worth it. “I have to cut out a lot of time to make it work, but I feel more prepared in a time management sense,” she says.

While universities have great pre-med programs, Cornejo notes that it is rare for underclassmen to find something like Clinic that is “specifically focused on sports medicine and working closely with the athletes.” This hands on experience gives students a leg up when applying to popular medical programs.

Franklin Clinic has helped solidify Cornejo’s decision to go into medicine. During one game an athlete collided with another player, hurting his arm. It was Cornejo that deduced he had something called a “stinger”. He had compressed several nerves in his shoulder, an injury that without treatment can lead to permanent nerve damage.

The Clinic provides hands on learning that some students otherwise wouldn’t see until their junior year. Cornejo believes that this experience will give her a leg up in college and prepare her for a successful career in her adult life.

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