High school students from as far away as Utah, Massachusetts, Illinois and Florida descended on 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 featured classroom lectures and hands-on training from Saints staff, staff from the Ochsner Sports Medicine Institute, plus LSU and Nicholls State athletic trainers. Jon Ishop, head athletic trainer for the New Orleans Pelicans, also gave a session which focused on his experience as a trainer in the NBA and the NFL.
The symposium was Patton's idea and at first he expected about 25 students would sign up. The demand was far greater.
"We wanted to give high school students the opportunity to learn about athletic training, the profession of athletic training," Patton said. "There's some students that are already experiencing athletic training at the high school level and there are some students who know very little about athletic training.
"We have curriculum directors from various universities in Louisiana to talk a little bit about athletic training and the Pelicans athletic trainer to talk about athletic training from a professional standpoint and then we coordinated with Ochsner to talk about employment opportunities once you graduate and become a degreed athletic trainer."
Ochsner's Graylin Jacobs said his company was very interested in participating as soon as it heard about Patton's plan.
"We wanted to reach out to the athletic trainers of the future and bring them in and show them what athletic trainers do on a day-to-day basis on a professional level as well as in a clinical setting," Jacobs said.