National Athletic Training Month is held every March in order to spread awareness about the important work of athletic trainers. While only 37% of high schools in America have an athletic trainer, with even fewer middle schools having access, the importance St. Anne's-Belfield places on student health and safety has led to two full-time, state-licensed, and board-certified athletic trainers being a part of the Athletics Department.
Head Athletic Trainer Jeremy Eith has been with the school since 2016 and Associate Athletic Trainer Lizzie Leitch since 2017. Their work is dedicated to making continuous improvements to the overall safety and wellness of students. As a department, they bring to the community:
- Injury and illness prevention and wellness promotion
- Examination, assessment, and diagnosis
- Immediate and emergency care
- Therapeutic intervention
- Healthcare administration and professional responsibility
On a daily basis, student-athletes seek care from the athletic trainers for injury care and rehabilitation, nutrition education, and general health education. The athletic training room has logged approximately 2,500 student visits during the 2018 - 2019 school year so far. Over the past three years, the School has seen a large reduction in sports-related concussions, even in collision sports like football, due largely to the athletic trainers' effort in increasing awareness, education, and partnering with coaches to emphasize safety. Eith and Leitch also provide immediate medical care at all home athletic events and practices, work closely in athletic development planning, and develop emergency action plans across both campuses.
National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) members, Eith and Leitch are active throughout the School outside of their core responsibilities, including teaching an Upper School Sports Medicine Intensive, two Grades 7 & 8 Quests, and a Life Skills class. In addition, they have partnered with local doctors and the University of Virginia on sports medicine research initiatives, including forthcoming papers on sports-related concussions.
"Integrating with the greater School community beyond just athletics allows us to provide healthcare in more direct and personal ways. To me, this makes St. Anne's-Belfield School an unique place to work as an athletic trainer," said Leitch.
Thanks to both athletic trainers, the Athletics Department, and the School's dedication to creating a safe environment for athletic participation, St. Anne's-Belfield has been recognized as a "Safe Sports School" by NATA.
"Our goal is to provide the best care possible to all of our student-athletes to help them reach their competitive goals. Athletic trainers shouldn't be viewed as a luxury, they should be viewed as a necessity for all athletes to ensure their safety," said Eith in response to receiving the recognition.