Athletic trainers: More than just a game

From heart-racing track meets to nail-biting college football games, we can not seem to get enough of watching our favorite sports. Even to the casual fan, the various roles on the sidelines can be quite obvious but one of the unsung heroes of the game is the athletic trainer which is the healthcare provider responsible for keeping the players healthy.

The demand for athletic trainers is increasing nationwide and the trend is expected grow 21 percent by 2022, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As athletes, coaches and school administrators become more aware of the long-term effects of injuries like concussions and torn ligaments, more schools are hiring athletic trainers to keep their student-athletes safe.

Augusta University Jaguar Sports Medicine has stepped up to the plate to answer this rapidly growing trend through its partnership with the Richmond County Board of Education as well as other institutions in South Carolina.

For over a year, the Jaguar Sports Medicine’s Richmond County Outreach Program has provided a full-time athletic trainer in almost all of the local high schools, except for magnet schools.  Marquis Sims is one of the AU Health’s athletic trainers whose been serving at T. W. Josey High School since August.  A 2018 graduate of Georgia College, Sims has the drive needed for the fast-paced profession as well as the patience to teach young athletes lessons for life off the field.

“Not only does it feel good to work in my hometown, but I enjoy what I do and having the chance to work with these athletes during such an important point in their lives is an opportunity I don’t take lightly,” said Sims.

As an athletic trainer, Sims’ duties include working closely with coaches to ensure conditions are conducive for the players and, if someone gets injured, he must quickly assess the situation to determine if it is a minor or major problem. Of course, this is Georgia, and Sims must also keep an eye out for symptoms of dehydration or heat exhaustion, especially in the late summer.

“My responsibilities change with the sports seasons, but I enjoy the variety it brings because it keeps me on my toes,” said Sims. “During the fall sports, you’ll mostly find me on the field or basketball court, and I’ll be spending a lot of my time on the track with runners in the spring. Otherwise, you will find me in the athletic training facility at the school treating and rehabilitating the various injuries sustained by the student athletes.”

As the Jaguar Sports Medicine’s program continues to expand under the leadership of  Daniel Hannah, director of athletic training outreach at Augusta University Health,  the program’s anticipated growth not only involves providing each school with an athletic trainer but instituting pre-game concussion testing and offering athletic training services to the local industrial organizations.

“We are grateful to have athletic trainers like Marquis on our team because it is an example of how our people are dedicated to providing the best possible care to our young athletes and community,” said Hannah. “I am proud of the success we have experienced in our efforts in working with the school system, but we want to broaden our reach to continue showing the various healthcare opportunities we provide at AU Health.”

As one of the region’s comprehensive sports medicine programs, Augusta University Jaguar Sports Medicine is a leader in preventing and treating sports-related injuries.  With a full staff of board-certified and fellowship-trained sports medicine specialists, the university is home to the area’s largest team of licensed Certified Athletic Trainers and offers a state-of-the-art rehabilitation center.

Learn more about Augusta University Jaguar Sports Medicine.

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Written by
Danielle Harris

Danielle Harris is Senior Media Relations Coordinator at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-7511 or

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Written by Danielle Harris

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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