Jefferson City High School switches to local athletic trainers

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JEFFERSON CITY - The school board voted to use the therapists at Peak Sports and Spine as their school's athletic trainers on Monday. The school used to use athletic trainers from national sports medicine companies. However the school's activities director said administration "diligently selected" to start using the local company.

Ben Kuster has worked as an athletic trainer at Jefferson City High School for several years. Before he worked for Peak Sports and Spine, he worked for a national athletic training company.

However, now that Kuster has worked for both national and local companies, he said being local has distinct advantages.

Kuster said the first advantage to working for a local company is injury information can be processed much quicker, which means trainers can begin the rehabilitation process earlier.

"Working for a private company, we can get things done easier sometimes," said Kuster. "We can do what's best for the kids, at the right moment."

In addition, Kuster said athletic trainers can help their students better when they see them often, and when they can build relationships. Athletes trust their trainers more the longer they are around them.

"In Jefferson City, it's all about relationships," said Kuster.

Board member Pam Murray said the board considered several companies to use as athletic trainers, however they ended up choosing Peak Sports and Spine based on recommendations from the school activities director.

Murray said athletic trainers are important because their job is to act in the best interest of the athlete, not necessarily the game.

"It's important to try and prevent injuries, but when they take place, you need to have independent guidance to help the athletes through their injury," Murray said. "When kids get hurt, they want nothing more than to get back on the field. Athletic trainers act in the kid's best interest, and they'll don't go back out before they're OK to."

Kuster said his company stresses the importance of doing exercises that can prevent injuries from happening. He said he encourages athletes to practice stretching and core-strengthening exercises regularly.