By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Leaders in the field of athletic training will gather in Athens this weekend at the annual sports medicine conference of the West Virginia Athletic Trainers Association (WVATA).
The gathering begins Friday afternoon in the Rahall Technology Center at Concord University, and concludes on Saturday evening. It’s the first time the conference has been held in southern West Virginia.
Dr. Joseh A. Beckett, professor and director of the athletic training education program at Concord, said, “This year’s conference is particularly important. Our goal is to help educate and teach the people at the high school and the middle school (level).”
The conference is described as a meeting of athletic training program faculty, physicians and other medical professionals and students focused on injury care and prevention.
Speakers will discuss treatment of concussions, and athletic injuries of the neck, torso, ankle and foot, among other topics.
A Saturday morning session will describe the “medical time out,” a short period of time taken before athletic events to consider the adequacy of medical care available.
On Saturday afternoon, Princeton physician Dr. Phillip Branson will speak on “Boomeritis: Examination of the Aging Athlete.”
Selected college students will give oral and poster presentations, and will compete in a WVATA “Quiz Bowl” on Friday evening.
Beckett said he wants Concord’s program to become “a mecca of sports medicine in our geographic region.”
A 1976 Bluefield High School graduate, Beckett has invited several fellow alumni of that school to participate.
They include Virginia Tech’s head athletic trainer Mike Goforth and Dr. Dan Martin, a sports medicne veteran who chairs the Department of Exercise Science and Athletic Training at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Dr. Jim Kyle, a graduate of the former Athens High School, and Dr. Mark Oliver, a Richlands High graduate, are also scheduled to speak.
“We want the conference to have southern West Virginia roots,” Beckett said.
Kat Naglee of Spanishburg, an athletic training student at Concord, said, “One thing about athlete training is that people don’t generally realize what we do. We do a lot of rehabilitation ... a lot of injury prevention and care of athletes’ injuries.”
“It will be really nice for people who work in the medical field to see what we do and work together.”
— Contact Tom Bone at