Michael Solomon knew what happened as soon as he heard it. The 16-year-old high school junior from Overland Park, Kansas, was running the ball in the semifinal class 6A championship home game between his team, the Tigers of Blue Valley High School, and their rivals, the Blue Valley Northwest Huskies, when a defensive lineman hit him hard, driving Michael’s shoulder into the ground. There was a sharp crack, “and I knew it was broken,” Michael recalls.
“He didn’t jump up from the tackle like he usually does, and I knew something was wrong,” says Caitlin Truhe, an athletic trainer for The University of Kansas Health System, who was on the sidelines. Truhe hurried over to Michael and could immediately see that he was done playing for the season. Once Truhe assessed Michael to ensure he was safe to move, she immobilized his arm and helped him to the bench where he watched the rest of the game.
“I had to stay there for my team,” Michael says. “It was a big game.”
Team approach for team players
Also present that night was Lucas Thompson, MD, a primary care sports medicine physician at The University of Kansas Health System Sports Medicine and Performance Center. Dr. Thompson was on the Huskies’ sideline, providing medical coverage for the away team.
“The trainers all know us and know they can call us over if they want us to take a look at something,” he says. Truhe did just that, asking Dr. Thompson to assess Michael before deciding whether he needed emergency care that night.
After the game – which the Tigers won, although they lost the final game of the playoffs – Truhe helped Michael carefully remove his pads and provided him and his parents with instructions. “I could feel the deformity in the shoulder and knew the fracture was pretty serious,” says Truhe, one of the certified athletic trainers with the health system who provide services to 27 high schools and middle schools throughout the Kansas City area.