Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a whole crew of people to look after the safety and well being of an athletic program.
While head coaches and assistants are primarily concerned about the next opponent; trainers, physicians and doctors are concerned about the next injury and how to prevent it.
Dr. David Jacks and Scott Young are the physician and trainer for the Pine Bluff School District. Tim Atkinson is the personal trainer for all White Hall teams and Torrance Walker is the Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s primary team doctor.
“We bring a high level of health care,” Jacks said. “It is evident by the fact that our athletic programs have been without major injuries over the last few years.”
Jacks congratulated Pine Bluff for having the foresight to employ full time trainers for all of their teams, including football.
“They played in the state championship this year,” Jacks said. “They have top-level quality athletes on the field and it is our job to keep them healthy.”
Jacks has been working with Scott Young, Pine Bluff’s full-time athletic trainer, for about 15 years.
“Along with coaches and staff, people like Scott, are able to teach the kids how to condition and to teach the kids how to prevent injuries.”
Young said it his job to be in charge of the health care of the athletes and try to prevent any athletic injuries.
“It is my responsibility to take care of the athletes from when they start playing to the time they graduate,” Young said. “Everything from prevention to rehab to returning to competition.”
Young went to the University of Northern Iowa in Cederfalls, Iowa. He graduated from the university in 1986. He has been living in Arkansas for 17 years.
Young said the highlight of his job is seeing an athlete return to competition after suffering a major injury.
“Anytime I can help an athlete get back on the basketball court, football field or wherever, that makes it worth while,” Young said.
“If someone responds really well to an ACL rehab and come back earlier than anticipated, that is a lot of satisfaction.”
Jacks said today’s athletes have become so much bigger and faster than in years past.
“If Scott is worried about a head injury or concussion or any problem, he takes them out of the game and prevents that from happening,” Jacks said.
Atkinson has been affiliated with White Hall since 1997 but has been working for the school for two years. He worked at the hospital and for White Hall and surrounding schools until he went into his own business in 2004.
From 2004 to 2010, he had a contract with White Hall. Now he is a full-time athletic trainer who also teaches Anatomy and Physiology.
“The main part of my job is to try prevent things like injuries,” Atkinson said. “Another big part of it is educating the coaches and the kids on different ways of preventing injuries.”
Atkinson was a student athletic trainer for the University of Arkansas from 1993-95. His freshman year he was at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. He graduated from Pine Bluff High School in 1992.
He has been married to his wife, Bethany, for eight years and they have a 5-year-old daughter named Kinley.
“We are lucky to have three certified athletic trainers in the area,” Jacks said. “A lot of schools don’t have trainers who are full-time.”
Walker received his MD from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. He spent his residency with the department of orthopedic surgery at UAMS.
He is married to Christy W. Walker, MD, who specialized in obstetrics and gynecology. They are parents to two children.