It was the last game of the season, and Avion Jones was running the ball on the opponent's turf. A 6-foot, 220-pound freshman running back for Blue Valley High School, Avion was tackled by 2 players from the opposing team when he felt a pop in his right knee.
"It wasn't a terrible pain, but something definitely didn't feel right," he recalls. After Avion limped to the sidelines, the home team's physician looked at his knee but couldn't make a definitive diagnosis. "I went home and put ice on it, but it was worse the next day, so I went to see Caitlin," he says.
Team treatment for players
Caitlin Truhe is an athletic trainer for The University of Kansas Health System. She works full-time with coaches and student athletes at Blue Valley High School, where she attends practices and home sporting events as well as away games with the varsity football team. She is part of the Sports Medicine and Performance Center team at the health system, which provides certified athletic trainers to 13 area high schools and 14 middle schools. These athletic trainers help student athletes train and prevent injuries. They also provide sports injury evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation.
"Avion came into my athletic training room the day after the game, and I could tell immediately that his ACL wasn't testing normally," Caitlin says, referring to Avion's anterior cruciate ligament, which runs diagonally across the middle of the knee and helps provide rotational stability. ACL sprains and tears are among the most common athletic knee injuries.
Caitlin's first call was to Avion's mother, Akema Brown, to share her findings and recommendations for a follow-up evaluation. Her second call was to Lucas Thompson, MD, a primary care sports medicine physician at The University of Kansas Health System Sports Medicine and Performance Center. "We have really good communication with our physicians. And easy and quick access to care is a big benefit for our student athletes," Caitlin says.
The University of Kansas Health System is trying to meet the needs of athletes by having at walk in clinic on Saturdays at its at I-435 and Nall location in Overland Park. Starting Sept. 12 the clinic will be open Saturday mornings from 8-11 a.m.
It’s a first come first serve basis for people who have suffered problems like sprains, strains, concussions, joint injuries and bone fractures. For other injuries such as lacerations, open fractures, chronic pain, wound care, cast problems or back and neck issues the center suggests visiting during regular business hours.