March is National Athletic Training Month, and what better way to celebrate than by featuring our strong athletic training program at MICDS! From fractured femurs, torn ACLs, and dislocated shoulders to administering CPR, physical therapy exercises, and evaluating concussions, our athletic trainers have seen it all—and their help has been critical to our student-athletes in their efforts to prevent and recover from injury. Plus, they do so much more. Read on to learn why it’s no wonder that all of Ram Nation wants our athletic trainers on their teams.
History, Athletic Trainers, & Overview
The athletic training program at MICDS began in 1994, 26 years ago, when current Head Athletic Trainer Stacey Morgan was hired and developed the program. Morgan graduated from Ashland University with a degree in athletic training. Before coming to MICDS, she served as the graduate assistant athletic trainer at SIUE and interned with the NFL, NHL minor leagues, and the MLB Cape Cod League.
For the past six years, Morgan has been joined by MICDS Athletic Trainer Ben Krueger. Krueger earned his bachelor’s degree in athletic training at Lindenwood University and his master’s degree in nutrition and exercise science from Southeast Missouri State. Prior to MICDS, he interned as an athletic trainer with the Kansas City Chiefs during the 2014-15 NFL season.
“I view our athletic training program as an integral part of our overall athletic program,” said Krueger. “We are directly responsible for the health and safety of all MICDS athletes, which encompasses the prevention, evaluation, and treatment of sports-related injuries and illnesses.” Morgan added, “There is so much on top of that which goes into making these responsibilities work at their best, like policy development, creating emergency action plans, field temperature readings, logging treatments, and more.”
Morgan’s typical day in a typical year is busy. “I start my day putting the previous day’s treatments and notes into the database, retrieving the golf carts, and loading the water coolers for the day. I also have one to two classes per day.” Morgan teaches Upper School science and Krueger teaches Middle School PE. “The time between classes is usually filled with grading, injury reports, and filling and delivering the water to the fields. In the last period of the day, we set up the training room and begin treatments until about 4 p.m. At this point, we circulate around to practices or cover games until everything is finished for the day. Finally, the day concludes with cleaning and sanitizing the tables, coolers, etc.”
Did you know that MICDS is also part of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) as a Safe Sports School? This is a national recognition, which the School has held since 2017. It requires an application and that we meet a tremendous amount of criteria. “We are very proud of this award as it means that we are doing all of the best practices to keep our athletes and teams safe and cared for,” said Morgan.
The Athletic Training Room
At MICDS, the Athletic Training program predominantly covers Upper School. However, it also covers Middle School home contests by providing water and circulating around through practices. In the Upper School, students are able to take advantage of rehab and treatments, and many visit the Athletic Training Room after school.
The Athletic Training Room is equipped with the following:
- Treatment Tables
- Ice Bags and an Ice Machine
- Heat Packs and a Heating Unit
- A Hydrotherapy Whirlpool Sports Bath
- An Ultrasound Machine
- Foam rolls
- Tape, Bandages, and Wraps
- Physical Therapy Equipment like Dumbbells, Ankle Weights, Bosu Balls, Step Platform Benches, Mini Trampolines, Resistance Bands, and more
Adapting During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Typically, the Athletic Training Room at MICDS is packed after school with 25 to 40 kids. With social distancing guidelines in place, our athletic trainers transformed a second space into another room where they can serve athletes with proper distancing measures. Mask wearing and temperature screenings are part of daily procedures in the athletic training rooms as well as a sign-up system. Additionally, our athletic trainers have also developed many sport-specific procedural plans for teams in order to assure they comply with St. Louis County Department of Public Health guidelines.
All of these adaptations have been well-received by students, coaches, and teams alike. Coaches have conducted screenings, adjusted cleaning procedures, spaced out bench seating, and more. Overall, our student-athletes truly want to play and are willing to adapt in order to be able to compete.
“I think the pandemic really highlighted how essential both school and athletics are to our students,” shared Krueger. “Back in the fall, when we weren’t sure if we would ever get to play a game, seeing the joy that students had to just be able to get outside from their homes for practice and socializing safely with their teammates really struck me. Seeing how much it meant to them definitely gave my job a new meaning, and this will be a year I’ll always remember.”
National Athletic Training Month
In this notable month, our athletic trainers took a moment to reflect on their profession, what they hope others will learn about athletic training, and how fortunate they are to work at MICDS.
“I see National Athletic Training Month as a way to shine a light on and educate others on what we do as a profession, especially since there’s still a large percentage of schools across the country who don’t have access to athletic training services,” said Krueger. “I think athletic trainers, in general, tend to work in the background and aren’t really noticed until something bad happens, like an injury. Hopefully, by showcasing our profession and everything it encompasses, we can bring more awareness to athletic trainers and the vital role they play in youth sports safety. I feel very lucky to work for a school that really values athletic training, as we are one of the few schools that directly employs two full-time athletic trainers. It’s an honor and privilege for me to get to work with Stacey every day, whose tenure at MICDS is unprecedented, and who has taught me a tremendous amount.
“One of the best parts about this profession is the relationships you make throughout the years. Being able to work with our athletes from the time they sustain an injury, where they may be feeling vulnerable or uncertain, to helping them recover back to 100% and seeing their success is truly a special feeling.”
“I am grateful to work for a school that values the role of the athletic trainer the way it does,” Morgan added. “There really is nothing better than seeing our kids happy and healthy. I am very, very proud of my profession and what athletic trainers do for athletes. Athletic trainers are confidants, cheerleaders, shoulders to cry on, rehab and prevention specialists, and much more. I am also very lucky to work with Ben. His knowledge and skillset are tremendous assets to our athletes and to myself.”
Thank You, Athletic Trainers!
One student shares what our athletic trainers mean to her. “I absolutely love Ms. Morgan and Mr. Krueger,” shares Kate Oliver ’22. “They have played a huge role in my athletic career at MICDS. I got injured at the beginning of my sophomore field hockey season and I worked with both of them to rehab and get back for our playoff run. One of my favorite memories from our state victory in 2019 was Facetiming Ms. Morgan with my medal, since she was at the football game, and getting to share that moment with her. Also, the athletic trainers always make sure to leave encouraging notes on our water bottles before our away games, and that makes it feel like they are there cheering you on.”
Ella Durrill ’21 couldn’t agree more. “What makes our athletic training room so amazing isn’t just the extensive equipment that is readily available to us but also the amazing people. Ms. Morgan and Mr. Krueger are so great at what they do. They are always willing to help any student who walks through the doors. My experiences with them both have undoubtedly helped me grow into the athlete I am today. As a senior who has worked with them for four years (both in the classroom and in the athletic training room), I am now more conscious about how I can prevent injuries and take care of my body overall. They are some of the busiest and hard-working people here at MICDS, that’s for sure!”
Our MICDS Athletic Director, Josh Smith, echoes this sentiment. “We are fortunate to have two professional athletic trainers to cover athletics at MICDS. Ben and Stacey do it all. They help our student-athletes heal and rehab behind the scenes, they watch over contests and practices, and they are there to walk our families through significant injuries. You can’t measure the value of safety. Their presence enhances all of our athletic programs.”
MICDS is lucky to have one of the best high school athletic programs in the country and such a robust athletic training program and talented athletic trainers who support it. Thank you, Ms. Morgan and Mr. Krueger, for your passionate, hard work as you continue to equip Ram Nation with the expertise, resources, safety measures, and skills to help each Ram be the healthiest and safest they can be on and off the field and court, and in and out of the pool!
Enjoy the photos below of our athletic trainers in action from across the years!