Just minutes after school let out Tuesday, Sprague High’s athletic training room was filled with student-athletes.
Amy West was hard at work, helping with ankle injuries and shoulder injuries, and directing her student aides to fill water coolers for the afternoon’s competitions.
The Olympians’ home slate Tuesday included boys tennis, varsity and junior varsity softball, and freshman baseball.
“We go through this mass chaos right after school where everyone is trying to get to their games or practices or whatever,” said West, who has been the athletic trainer at Sprague since 1996.
Athletic trainers play an important role in high school sports, and to meet the need, the Salem-Keizer School District has an agreement with Hope Orthopedics.
In the agreement, the district pays $23.33 per hour for 5,880 hours during the school year. For that, each of the six Salem-Keizer high schools gets an athletic trainer for all home OSAA-sanctioned sporting events, as well as all home and away varsity football games.
“We’re looking out for the needs of our schools and our (athletic directors) and our athletic trainers to make sure we’re getting the coverage,” said Larry Ramirez, director of high schools for the Salem-Keizer School District. “I would say the number one thing, whether it’s school or athletics, is safety.”
Both the district and Hope work together to come up with the protocol when dealing with injuries.
“We have an agreement with them that they are the ones who are going to release the kids back, to let them play or not,” Ramirez said. “The call is for the medical professional, not the coach.”
West not only is a teacher and athletic trainer at Sprague, but she also is in a leadership role among the district’s athletic trainers.
“I help oversee all the athletic trainers,” West said. “For Hope, I’m the first line that they go to for things like that.”
West is in a unique position where she also is a teacher at Sprague with classes in sports medicine and health services.
Because she is a full-time teacher, West shares her athletic training duties with Kimo Mahi, who is a teacher at Judson Middle School.
“For Kimo and I, it’s all after a full day of teaching,” West said. “Each school gets 980 hours to utilize. Here, we share those. All the other schools, they have their single athletic trainer.”
During her 20 years, West has seen many Sprague sports moments, and three in particular stand out.
“The three state championships that I’ve been a part of are pretty hard to top,” West said, referring to the Olys’ 2005 baseball, 2004 football and 2003 softball state championships.
The football and baseball state championships came during the same 2004-05 school year.
“It was the same school year, same group of kids,” West said. “That was a pretty amazing year. That was a long year, in terms of athletic training. Playoffs eat up hours like crazy. That was just an amazing year.”