Volunteer Athletic Trainer Aiding Tennessee State Troopers

Brad Swope, full-time athletic trainer for a high school in Gallatin, Tenn., has overseen the prevention, diagnosis, and rehabilitation of medical conditions for three Trooper Cadet academies.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol is celebrating National Athletic Training month by thanking athletic trainer Brad Swope for his work with the agency's Trooper Cadet classes. Swope has volunteered his time and expertise since 2008 and has overseen the prevention, diagnosis, and rehabilitation of medical conditions for three Trooper Cadet academies, according to the patrol.

Swope, the full-time athletic trainer for Station Camp High School in Gallatin, Tenn., is the lone caretaker for 44 Trooper Cadets set to graduate in May and was athletic trainer for Cadet Class 1208 and Cadet Class 311, which graduated in 2008 and 2011 –- more than 130 state troopers in all.

National Athletic Training Month is March 2012."We are fortunate to have a knowledgeable and experienced athletic trainer working with our Trooper Cadets," said Capt. Donald Nicholson, who oversees the patrol's Training Center and organizes the cadet schools. "Unfortunately, injuries sometimes do happen during the course of the 18-week training. It helps to have in-house medical personnel who can guide the trooper back to health."

"Oftentimes, state troopers experience the same kinds of injuries as athletes," Swope said. "There's almost an untapped market in law enforcement, where many individuals need treatment but aren't receiving it as often as they'd like. It's my job to bring them back to work quicker, safer, and a lot happier."

Swope said the Dallas-based National Athletic Trainers' Association, the 300,000-member governing body for certified athletic trainers, has advocated having more athletic trainers in the public service sector. "We are beginning to see more municipalities hire athletic trainers and as a result, workman's compensation claims are decreasing," he said. "I'm with my athletes every day. Why not have athletic trainers on staff with public safety agencies, especially if it will save money in the long run?"

March is National Athletic Training Month, with the theme "Athletic Trainers Save Lives."

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