SRMC Athletic Trainers at local high schools

June 20, 2018

Elizabeth Endelman
Shelby Fankhauser

Two new faces will be on the sidelines at athletic events in the county this school year, ready to administer treatment to any McMinn County and McMinn Central high school athletes who are unfortunate enough to sustain injury.

One of the two, Elizabeth Endelman, has already been at work at McMinn's events since February and will continue this fall at McMinn. The newer arrival, Shelby Fankhauser, will serve Central after coming on board in April.

Endelman and Fankhauser are Starr Regional Medical Center's new athletic trainers, as Starr Regional took over the sports medicine services to McMinn County schools in January.

Endelman, a native of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, went to school at Northern Michigan University for her athletic training degree, where she had an opportunity most students in the field don't get to experience.

"While I was there, I was lucky enough to work with Olympic athletes in weightlifting and Greco-Roman wrestling," Endelman said.

Endelman ended up coming to Athens when her fiance's job brought them to the area, and she then started with Starr Regional in February and has been working with McMinn since.

"I'm really excited to get to know the athletes better," Endelman said. "A lot of new people, new to town. Everyone is so nice, though. And I'm excited to get to know the parents and the athletes and the coaches and see where this year takes us."

Fankhauser grew up in Wheeling, West Virginia, and attended West Virginia University for her undergraduate in athletic training and Lee University in Cleveland for her master's degree.

In the year between graduating from WVU and starting her master's program, Fankhauser worked with track, cross country and women's soccer at NCAA Division II Wheeling Jesuit University. At Lee, she worked with men's basketball and tennis.

By the time Fankhouser was hired in April, Central was wrapping up its spring sports seasons. She has, however, worked Central's soccer camp this week, and then will start with Central athletics full-time when football practices begin in July.

"I'm just really looking forward to working with our coaches and athletes and all that," Fankhauser said. "I've been working with our coaches this week, and they're really excited to have this service provided to them. And we're really happy to be able to give that protection for the athletes and safety, and I'm looking forward to seeing what this year brings and meeting everybody else."

Both trainers participated in athletics in high school, too, with Endelman playing tennis and golf and also taking part in downhill skiing and waterskiing, and Fankhauser playing softball and basketball.

Starr Regional has been looking to provide its services in sports medicine to the schools for the past few years, according to Director of Rehabilitation Floyd Bassler, who is also a physical therapist.

"One of the other directors was talking with the Director of Schools (Mickey Blevins), and it just so happened that everything was in a good position for us to be able to provide those services," Bassler said. "So here we are."

Bassler and a couple of therapists provided those services themselves when Starr Regional reached the agreement with Blevins in January, before Endelman's hire in February.

"It's been a great transitional process working with the Director of Schools Mickey Blevins, Jimmy Haynie, athletic director at McMinn, and also Doug Armstrong, athletic director at McMinn Central," Bassler said. "Those guys were great to work with throughout this entire process."

The TSSAA requires all schools to have an athletic trainer present for all home contests involving contact sports. Endelman and Fankhauser will also travel for road games, as needed.

Football and girls' soccer, both contact sports, will be the highest priorities in the fall, but the trainers will also attend to volleyball, golf and cross country when able.

The trainers will each carry an iPad that will have student-athletes' names and demographic information, which Bassler said will expediate any necessary treatment processes.

"So if the student-athlete is injured, then we'll have a continuity of care for the student, communication with the parents, the coach, the primary care physician and possibly the orthopaedic surgeon, if applicable," Bassler said. "That will allow that student to get services here in the community and hopefully return to the field as soon as possible."

Eventually, Bassler said Starr Regional hopes to expand its sports medicine services to middle and elementary schools, as well as to schools in surrounding counties once McMinn's high schools are well taken care of.

"As we expand our services to other schools outside the county, then we'll be able to provide that service," Bassler said. "But we want to make sure to take care of McMinn schools as our primary priority."

Courtesy Gabriel Garcia, The Daily Post Athenian