Hamilton Sports Medicine athletic trainer impacts student athlete

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

 From left are Kadaysha Pickens, athletic trainer for Hamilton Sports Medicine; Matt Cook, sophomore at Christian Heritage School; and Kathy Bonner, orthopedic assistant at AOSM. Hamilton Sports Medicine provides athletic trainers to local schools, at no cost to the schools. The trainers work behind the scenes to develop individualized Athletic Performance Programs designed to prevent injuries and improve speed, power and agility.

Trainers include:

• Kadaysha Pickens, Christian Heritage School
• Ryan Bonanno, North Murray
• Crystal Clark, Dalton
• Tony Mathis, Southeast Whitfield
• Joe Ogden, Calhoun
• Stephanie Rynas, Dalton State College
• Corey Stansifer, Murray County
• Katie Stauffer, Northwest Whitfield
• Stephanie Wise, Coahulla Creek.
From left are Kadaysha Pickens, athletic trainer for Hamilton Sports Medicine; Matt Cook, sophomore at Christian Heritage School; and Kathy Bonner, orthopedic assistant at AOSM.  

 DALTON, Ga. – When Matt Cook was injured during the first football game of the season last year at Christian Heritage School, he didn’t know how serious it was.

Cook, a freshman at the time, was running the ball down the field when he planted his foot and twisted his knee. Since he didn’t have any point tenderness, swelling nor pain, his injury seemed minor. But when he tried to cut on the sideline, he fell to the ground.

After an MRI, the diagnosis came back: torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

Cook started to rehabilitate before having surgery, and in doing so, his return time was shortened.

“Minutes after receiving the results (ACL tear diagnosis), Cook called me and asked to start rehab immediately after school,” said Kadaysha Pickens (known to students, staff and parents as “KP”), Hamilton Sports Medicine athletic trainer assigned to Christian Heritage. “Cook was undaunted and determined to return to play. He didn’t slack off from rehab – he was focused everyday. He entrusted me with the task to return him back to the field, and because he trusted me, he willingly followed my instructions. Everyone was impressed with his progression from the athletes and coaches to the orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist.”

Cook’s ACL reconstruction surgery was performed by Mitch Frix, MD in October of 2012. After starting physical therapy with Thierry Urbain, physical therapist and director of Physical Therapy Services for Associates In Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, Cook continued therapy and rehabilitation with Pickens.

“KP has been a godsend to Matt and us,” said Dina Poindexter, Cook’s mother. “KP has been through the whole journey with Matt. She was with us when Dr. (Michael) Wilson broke the news to Matt and was also with Dr. Frix through Matt's ACL reconstruction surgery.  Most importantly, she has worked with him for countless hours to rehabilitate his knee.”

Preston Poag, Cook’s football coach, said Cook is a worker. “He was working 90 miles an hour to get stronger. She (Pickens) was right there by his side rehabbing, helping him stretch and get back on the field.”

“Having an athletic trainer here is a big deal to us,” Poag added. “When you’re dealing with things like heat-related issues, concussions and leg injuries, it’s great to have someone here onsite who has experience. KP has been a big plus for us here.”

Pickens continues to work with Cook on taping and stretching. “I haven’t had any problems since,” he said.

“I’m proud of Cook and the accomplishments he has made on and off the field,” Pickens said. “I wish him success as he continues his football career as a Christian Heritage Lion.”

Cook said he would like to play for the Georgia Bulldogs in college.

“KP has been a great emotional support for Matt and us,” said Poindexter. “It has been a long year with a roller coaster ride of emotions. She has seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Matt is now back out on the field and is doing great.  We know that Matt had to put in the hard work to get stronger, but we also know that KP has been instrumental to his success.”

Pickens said she has always had a passion for helping others in any way possible. “Athletic training not only deals with the physical aspect of an injury but the psychological portion of what the injury can do to the patient or athlete,” she said. “Athletic training involves growing strong rapport with the athlete, and depending on the setting, their families as well.”

Athletic trainers are not “trainers” whose job is to tape ankles and wrists, Pickens added. “We’re there during the highs and lows of an athlete’s career. We evaluate, treat and rehabilitate injuries. We’re there to counsel and help overcome problems in not only their career, but at times their personal lives.”

Pickens said she encourage her athletes not to wait until an injury begins to affect their ability to participate in competition. She consults the athlete from nutrition, to proper technique of how to lift weight, to strengthening exercises in areas they have weakness.

“KP is an awesome trainer, and we are extremely fortunate to call her our trainer,” said Poindexter.

For more information about Hamilton Sports Medicine athletic training, please call 706-217-2273.