KSB on the Sidelines: Providing care to student-athletes

KSB sideline medical staff shown at a recent Dixon High School home game   are (from left)  Physical Therapist Dominic Martinez,  Athletic Trainer Alicia Spangler,  and Podiatrist Dr. Kyle Swanson.

DIXON – It takes a team to support the health and well-being of local student-athletes.

KSB Hospital athletic trainer Alicia Spangler, podiatrist Dr. Kyle Swanson and physical therapist Dominic Martinez work together to provide care on the sidelines. Spangler provides athletic training coverage and instructs patients on injury prevention, rehabilitation and treatment programs, mainly for Dixon High School.

She provides coverage for every home event, practices throughout the school year, football away games and postseason games. When available, Spangler also supports Ashton-Franklin Center High School home games.

“I provide immediate care to injuries and illnesses, evaluate and refer out as needed,” Spangler said. “I also provide information about injury prevention, overall health/wellness and athletic training to the public and student-athletes.

“All the different personalities keep me on my toes. I love that they enjoy learning from me and are unafraid to ask questions about anything.”

Spangler’s mom was a coach at Oregon High School, and her dad was on the Franklin Grove Fire Department.

“It was a part of our lifestyle to help others,” Spangler said. “I have played sports my entire life and wanted to continue with the team environment, but I knew I would never play professionally. Once I learned about athletic training, it clicked that this would be a good career fit.”

Martinez volunteers his time at Dixon High School’s home games.

“I love giving back to the community and being a part of a team,” Martinez said. “I’ve had many of their football athletes as patients so, naturally, it is easy to support and help on the sidelines. Being a former college football player, I love the sport and want to help the high school athletes succeed on the field.”

Swanson also enjoys supporting high school sports teams by volunteering at as many home games – and closer away games – as possible.

“I find it rewarding working with our student-athletes,” Swanson said. “It reminds me of my experiences playing sports throughout school and college.

“I personally had injuries that required surgery and rehabilitation. I will never forget those experiences and will forever be thankful for the medical and athletic training teams that helped get me back on the court. I enjoy seeing our student-athletes reach their individual and team goals while keeping them as healthy as possible.”

Common football injuries may include shoulder sprains, concussions, ankle/foot injuries, knee injuries or broken bones. From a podiatry standpoint, Swanson sees turf toe and sprains, foot and ankle sprains, tendinitis, muscle and bone contusions, plantar fasciitis and inflammation of the athlete’s growth plates, most commonly in the heel. Finger jams, occasional dislocations, wrist/elbow sprains, rib contusions and shoulder injuries also are seen on the sidelines.

“I am originally from a rural community in Iowa, and I enjoy that same close-knit atmosphere we have here in Dixon,” Swanson said. “Seeing our young athletes and their teams succeed is very rewarding. When they sustain injuries, we aim to get them healed and back to health as soon as possible but, more importantly, when it is safe.”

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