Coach Melanie Neargarder // Mississinawa Valley Athletics
Volleyball coach Melanie Neargarder has been leading teams at Mississinawa Valley (MV) for six years, and has seen her share of sports injuries. In fact, her own daughters have been in that lineup. But this year, the dynamics have changed and she now has the support of Reid athletic trainer Desiree Thomas to handle medical needs from the sidelines.
“The girls really like Desiree, and it’s so nice to know if there is an injury, she is there,” Melanie said. “It is a reassurance and a comfort.”
Melanie knows that comfort from her own experience when her oldest daughter tore an ACL at a tournament. Fortunately, a Reid athletic trainer was on hand to assist. She is now thankful to offer that care to players on her home court.
Being at a small school in a rural location, athletic director Bruce Davison was not sure he could provide MV students with the same service other schools had obtained. “Thankfully, Reid was willing to make that investment,” he said. “It’s one thing to provide a uniform for our athletes. It’s another thing to keep them safe and provide follow-up rehab.”
In the past, coaches or parents were taping and bandaging kids, but not truly qualified to do so, Bruce said. Melanie added, “Coaches are not trained to take care of injuries.”
Bruce said the bottom line is to care for the student athletes. “It is much needed, especially when it comes to concussions.” Reid offers free impact testing and Desiree handles follow-up documentation, ensuring no player returns to the game before the appropriate time.
“Desiree can address concerns before they become major,” said Melanie. “She gives parents good advice on when to see a doctor. Hopefully, we will prevent injuries just by having her here.”