Sports Medicine Students’ Case Study Selected for National Athletic Training Association National Conference and Clinical Symposium

A medical case study submitted by four sports medicine students at Wenatchee High School has been selected for presentation at a national conference.

Chelan Pauly, Skye Pauly, Hannah Kiser, and Ashley Tonge’s case study, entitled "Distal Hallux Pain in an Alpine Ski Racer," was accepted by the National Athletic Trainers' Association to be presented at the prestigious National Athletic Training Association (NATA) National Conference and Clinical Symposium.  The conference will take place June 22 – June 25, 2010, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

They are the only high school student group in the nation to be accepted for this honor. This is the second year that WHS students' work has been chosen.

Case studies are selected in a blind review process done by professionals, including certified athletic trainers, program directors at universities, masters and doctoral students.

“All the names and institutions are taken off the case studies,” explains Sports Medicine program director Dale Blair, MS, ATC, AT/L, CSCS.  “They don’t know whether a case study is being submitted by high school students, a college professor or a doctoral student. It’s a great testament to their work that they are competing with college level students and staff to get the case study accepted.”

To find case studies Blair, a certified athletic trainer, and the sports medicine students are always on the look out for unusual injuries. This year the team knew a WHS student who required surgery on a toe. In accordance with health privacy HIPAA laws, the patient’s identity remains anonymous.

Third-year sports medicine student Ashley Tonge explains the case.  “The cause of the injury was a little iffy. It could have been from the pressure of her tight ski boot, but it also could have been from the frostbite incidents that she had. She formed osteomyelitis, which is an infection of the bone and the skin tissue. It caused a big ulcer on her hallux, which is the great toe. She had to get the tip of the hallux removed surgically.”

Once they selected the case, the team interviewed the patient and the physician, in this case Podiatrist Scott Schroeder, and researched the condition and relevant topics. They compiled all that information and condensed it into a 600-word abstract.

“We all worked together,” said Chelan Pauly. “We spent time interviewing the individual we were studying, then worked together to come up with a 600-word abstract.”

“We would add things, and take out things,” adds Hannah Kiser, “discuss and ask questions together. It was really a collaborative effort.”            

There are two case study presentation formats used at the conference, PowerPoint and poster, which are assigned randomly. The WHS team was assigned the poster format. 

The Sports Medicine program provides academic training and practical skills for students considering careers in athletic training, medicine, physical therapy, or other related careers. Dale Blair founded the program, which is in its seventeenth year. Along with academic study, students work WHS athletic events, providing sports medicine support and providing students practical experience.

“It’s kind of a draw to have Mr. Blair in the Wenatchee Sports Medicine program,” says Skye Pauly. “It’s a great program.”