Summit Sports Medicine Teams Dedicated to Student Safety
Every week, Summit’s athletic trainers are monitoring the high school teams of District 833 as they train and compete. Athletic trainer Erik Collins explains his role in education, prevention, and injury assessment on the field.
“As the Official Sports Medicine Partner for District 833 high school athletes, Summit Orthopedics has made the well-being and safety of the kids its first priority,” says Erik Collins, one of the athletic trainers covering all of the athletic teams at East Ridge High School under the supervision of Dr. Brent Warner.
Every week, Erik arrives at the school at 2:30 p.m. to prepare for six different team practices. “I try to attend varsity football practice, and I have a golf cart to get to the volleyball and soccer practices if I’m needed,” he explains. Before practice, he tapes students who need extra joint support, and evaluates injuries that may have occurred prior to practice. During practice, he triages any physical issues that arise.
Erik understands student athlete concerns from firsthand experience. He played football, basketball, and golf in high school, injuring his knee along the way. “I never had an athletic trainer in high school,” he recalls. “After my football injury, I worked with a physical therapist to recover and get my knee ready for basketball season—I thought it was so cool that he knew exactly what I needed to do. I love working with athletes and I understand their challenges because I’ve been there myself.”
Experience at every level of sports competition, including high school, college, and the NFL, taught Erik the value of being prepared. “In my mind,” Erik says, “I always try to be a step or two ahead of what could happen. My work with the San Diego Chargers taught me to mentally review the steps I need to take to keep my players safe. Summit provides me with the equipment I need and I coordinate with the East Ridge athletic director to have appropriate emergency personnel and equipment present. There shouldn’t be anything missing—I’m pretty particular about my mental checklist.”
For Erik, ongoing education is another priority. “I teach the students about prevention, injuries, and how to take care of their bodies,” he explains. “That education extends to the coaches, so they understand when they can push kids and when they need to pull them back a little bit.”
He acknowledges that having the HealthEast Sports Center as close as it is to East Ridge High School is a bonus. “If players do have a problem, I can refer them to Dr. Warner—often the same day—for medical treatment at our Sports Center, right next to where the kids go to school. At Summit, we’re working to make things as convenient and easy as possible for these students and their parents.”
“I love building relationships with these student athletes,” he concludes. “I enjoy the responsibility of being their guy—the guy they trust to take care of them. And when kids do get hurt, there’s nothing better than being able to help them get back to 100 percent so they can return to the field and exceed their expectations. For me personally, that’s just one of the best feelings.”
Sports medicine: Expert bone, joint, and muscle care
From Olympians to pro athletes to youth sports and those that just want to be more active – Summit Orthopedics delivers expert care by fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians. If you are recently injured or concerned about ongoing pain, Summit Orthopedics sports medicine specialists have the expertise to evaluate your discomfort and develop a plan to quickly and safely help you get back to being active.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as several additional community clinics.
“As an athlete, I understand the profound impact that an injury can have on a patient’s life and well-being. My goal is to return people to activity as quickly and safely as possible, whether that’s training for an ultramarathon or walking the dog around the block.”
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