High school students from as far away as Florida, Texas and Alabama travleled to the New Orleans Saints facility Saturday for an athletic training symposium organized by Scottie Patton, head athletic trainer for the Saints.
More than 300 students signed up for the event which included classroom lectures and hands-on training from Saints staff, staff from the Ochsner Sports Medicine Institute, plus LSU, University of Louisiana Lafayette and Nicholls State athletic trainers. There were two sessions of the symposium, each lasted six hours. In the hands-on training, students learned various taping techniques, rehabilitation ideas and experienced a modalities lab.
"The response has been great. When we launched it on the website, we had so many students sign up for it and we made sure it was free to all students. That just goes to show the commitment from the Saints organization as far as community outreach goes from our owner, Mr. Benson, our general manager, Mr. Loomis and (our president) Dennis Lauscha. It's about the young people that live in the community."
This was the second year of the symposium. It was Patton's idea to begin the symposium last year and it was hugely successful, once again.
"More students have become aware of the profession of athletic training. Or, have gotten more interested in it," Patton said. "Some of it is due to the exposure of athletic trainers and the role in which we play in player safety and injury prevention that comes to, in our case, NFL football. Athletic training has become a much more recognized profession and there is gain in that recognition. Now it is just about preparing next generation's athletic trainers that will be working in the colleges, local high schools and even secondary schools. When we talk about safety when it comes to athletics and injury prevention, it's just not at the NFL level, it's at the local high school level and even at the junior high school level."