Bloomingdale Trainer Performing Invaluable Role in Keeping Athletes Playing
By Pam Shebest
Special for MHSAA.com
November 22, 2022
BLOOMINGDALE — If Scott Allison looks bored during one of Bloomingdale’s sporting events, that is a good thing.
“Trainers like to be behind the scenes and in the shadows,” the certified athletic trainer said. “We’re only needed in emergencies.
“It’s one of those jobs that if we’re sitting around looking bored, then things are going well.”
But if an athlete goes down with an injury, Allison is quick to run onto the court or field.
In his first year at Bloomingdale, he has found that working with middle and high school students is a lot different than his previous work with the minor-league hockey Kalamazoo Wings.
Treating the hockey team, with whom he spent much of his 22 years, “There was a lot of traumatic stuff like lacerations or deep contusions, overuse injuries like hip flexors or core injuries or broken bones.
“Everything’s acute and fast. It’s a different animal. In hockey, they’re all pro athletes so they know their bodies really well.”
However, high school and middle school athletes are still in a growing phase.
“These kids don’t really know what’s going on a lot of times, so it’s a lot more education on what’s happening,” Allison said.
“Is it an injury, or is it just soreness? You get a lot of kids that don’t understand the difference between aches and pains or an injury. We see a lot of ankle sprains or shin splints because they’re just developing. They’re in that awkward range where their bodies try to grow too fast.”
Allison is the Cardinals’ first certified athletic trainer, a new position for which athletic director Jason Hayes campaigned.
“What we notice is that if a kid’s injured, they’re out a lot less if you have a trainer because it speeds up recovery time,” said Hayes, who also coaches varsity football and is an assistant wrestling coach. “It’s like having a built-in physical therapist on your staff, too.”
Studies support Hayes’ statements.
According to information from The Sports Institute at University of Washington, “‘The athletic trainers know the athletes,” says Stan Herring, M.D., cofounder of The Sports Institute at (University of Washington) Medicine and a team physician for the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners. “They see the athletes frequently, if not every day. They know when something is wrong. They are medical professionals who evaluate, treat and rehabilitate athletes.’”
The article continued: “Three recent studies suggest that athletic trainers are linked to significant improvements in the diagnosis of concussion in young athletes and significant reductions in ‘time-loss’ injuries that require athletes to take time away from sports.”
Allison sees himself as a teacher as well as a trainer.
“We see a lot more strains or growth issues,” he said. “A lot of it is maintenance and teaching kids what’s going on with their bodies or what they need to do to change things.”
He also meets with parents and coaches to talk about the best way to prevent injuries.
Allison’s day begins about 1:30 or 2 p.m., giving athletes a chance to talk with him before practices or games.
During the action, he always has his first aid backpack filled with the basics: air splints for fractures or dislocations, AED, EpiPens, and bench kits (with taping and bandaging supplies, splints, gauze, ACE wraps, ice bags, latex gloves and other basic first aid supplies.)
He travels with the teams when they are involved in high-impact sports, such as football, and many times he is also called to treat an opposing player if that team has no trainer.
Allison is a perfect fit with Bloomingdale, Hayes said.
His wife, Kirsten, coached the Cardinals girls basketball team for seven years. His daughter Emma, now at Glen Oaks Community College, graduated from there, and his daughter Bailey is an eighth grader.
“We are a very lucky town,” Hayes said. “We had Doc (Robert) Stevens, who had been volunteering as our athletic trainer for 15 years. He’s just aging out.
“About a year ago, he came to me and said that it was his last year. Scott has 22 years experience, and he has relationships here. To me, it was a no-brainer.”
Assistant varsity football coach Lance Flynn, who also coaches the middle school football team, saw Allison in action during competition in the fall.
“First quarter in a middle school football game, a kid broke his arm,” Flynn said. “My own son, Ryder, was on the varsity team and he sprained his AC socket and Scott took care of him.
“If something happens during a game, they can go see him and I don’t have to worry much because I know they’re in good hands.”
Allison’s affiliation with Bronson Sports Medicine is also a plus, the trainer said.
“With Bronson, we can offer a lot more and expedite getting in to see doctors or specialists if we need to,” he said. “We’re on the same system as the doctors, so we can diagnose and send notes to the doctors and they can send notes back to us.
“If there’s anybody we need to keep track of with the doctors, I can talk with the doctors and figure out how that’s going. If anybody needs to see me, they know I’m here early if they just want to come down to talk.”
Bronson also provides certified athletic trainers at 21 other southwest Michigan high schools: Brooke Vandepolder (Battle Creek Central), Lindsay Aarseth-Lindhorst (Climax-Scotts), Amanda Monsivaes (Comstock), Makenzie Hodgson (Delton Kellogg), Salvador Robles-Soriano (Gobles), Holly Ives (Richland Gull Lake), Katelyn Baker-Contreras (Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep), Lizzy Smith (Kalamazoo Central), Emma Beener (Kalamazoo Christian), Holly Sisson (Kalamazoo Loy Norrix), Nico Talentino (Mattawan), Aaron Eickhoff (Otsego), Quincey Powell (Parchment), Malorie Most (Paw Paw), Jessica Bakhuyzen (Plainwell), Lance LeTourneau (Portage Central), Janelle Currie (Portage Northern), Carrie Calhoun (Schoolcraft), Chelsea Harrison (South Haven), Alexis Walters (Three Rivers) and Natalie McClish (Vicksburg).
Pam Shebest served as a sportswriter at the Kalamazoo Gazette from 1985-2009 after 11 years part-time with the Gazette while teaching French and English at White Pigeon High School. She can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Bloomingdale trainer Scott Allison has several tasks as he works to keep the school’s student-athletes healthy and pain-free. (Middle) Bloomingdale athletic director Jason Hayes, left, and assistant varsity football coach Lance Flynn. (Below) Allison packs his bag for another full afternoon. (Ankle-taping photo by Andreya Robinson; all other photos by Pam Shebest.)
5 Ways Acupuncture Can Enhance Athletic Performance
May 9, 2023
In the ancient Chinese medicine of acupuncture, thin needles are gently inserted into specific areas of the body, stimulating blood flow to speed the recovery of certain ailments.
It can be used as a treatment for everything from headaches and unbalanced hormones to joint pain and weakened immune systems. Acupuncture is also popular among athletes, as many of them incorporate it into their wellness regimens to stay in peak physical condition.
“Back in the day, athletes ate steak, smoked cigars and drank whiskey during the week and then played football on Sunday,” says Thomas Betts, a sports medicine acupuncturist with Henry Ford Health System. “But today, to improve their performance, athletes are attacking the body from every angle possible with diet, lifestyle and exercise. NBA players, for example, have talked about how acupuncture keeps them feeling their best.”
But you don’t have to be an NBA star to reap the benefits of acupuncture. Whether you’re a professional or student athlete, or you exercise and play sports for fun or to challenge yourself, here are ways acupuncture can boost your game:
- Acupuncture can help you recover more quickly from an injury. “If a muscle is torn, acupuncture won’t put it back together, but for sprains and strains, muscle soreness and tendonitis, acupuncture can decrease inflammation and speed the healing process,” says Betts.
- Acupuncture can reduce the need for “rest days.” If you just had an intense workout and your muscles are sore, getting acupuncture afterward can loosen the muscles and decrease soreness so you don’t have to take a day off to recuperate before training again.
- Acupuncture can improve flexibility, decrease muscle tension and increase muscle activation. “This is done with motor point acupuncture,” says Betts. “The motor point is where the brain attaches to the muscle via the motor nerve. By using needles to stimulate a motor point, it is like rebooting a phone or computer that isn’t working well: Motor point acupuncture is autoregulating, in that it can deactivate a tight muscle or reactivate an inhibited or weak muscle.”
- Acupuncture can provide immediate pain relief. “Some studies show that acupuncture can provide as much as, if not more pain relief than medication,” Betts says. “It differs for everyone, and it depends on what is being treated, but some people say they feel a difference right after a session, and others say they feel better about 20 to 30 minutes later.” Pain relief can last from a few hours to a few days.
- Acupuncture can help prevent injury. Because acupuncture can reactivate weak muscles and decrease muscle tension, it can also be used as a preventative measure against injury, Betts says. But you should always still stretch before and after exercising!
Learn more about acupuncture and other integrative medicine services at Henry Ford. To make an appointment, you can request one online or by calling 1-833-246-4347.
Thomas Betts, DOAM, RAc, is a certified sports acupuncturist with Henry Ford Health. He sees patients at the Henry Ford Center for Athletic Medicine in Detroit.