Beyond Friday Night Lights

mployment of athletic trainers is expected to increase 30 percent between 2010 and 2020, especially in schools and youth leagues. Why? Because the long overdo realization that athletic trainers are essential members of the teams they support. They provide not only locker room and training guidance but also sideline medical care for everything from cuts to concussions. 

Approximately 8,000 children are treated in emergency rooms each day for sports-related injures. (Statistic via
Approximately 8,000 children are treated in emergency rooms each day for sports-related injures.

Over the years, we’ve all seen the number of sports leagues increase and the offseason time decrease. Often, students are going from one sport to the next without a real break—leaving their bodies ripe for injury.

Scott Tidwell, an outreach coordinator and athletic trainer with Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, says the increase in injuries is driving the demand to have athletic trainers involved in the prevention and evaluation of sports injuries.

As the parent of a Hardin football player, Scott doesn’t go to the games just to watch his son play; he goes to work. It’s not unusual to see him on the sidelines of a Friday night varsity football game or a junior varsity basketball game at Hardin High School in Hardin, Texas.

Athletic trainer employment is expected to increase 30% due to the sideline medical care these experts provide Click To Tweet

Scotts visits once a week to work with athletes in grades seven to 12 at Hardin Junior High and High schools. He checks to see if an athlete is following the treatment plan provided by their doctor or physical therapist or evaluates a new injury. He also works with the coaches on everything from conditioning and equipment to nutrition in order to minimize injury.

Through Scott’s weekly visits to the Hardin campuses, he becomes familiar with the athletes and their families. This familiarity proved invaluable to Zane Drake, a football and baseball player at Hardin High School. After tackling an opponent during a Friday night game in 2010, then 13-year-old Zane was removed from the game.


I don’t like to admit when I’m in pain. But, after that tackle, I felt tingling in my neck and legs and could tell I wasn’t functioning correctly. Scott was there and knew immediately something was wrong. He got me on a stretcher and helped me keep calm.


Zane was flown to a nearby hospital to be checked for a suspected neck injury and was diagnosed with a stinger, a minor nerve injury common in athletes in high-contact sports. Since then, Zane has dealt with ankle injuries every football season. But with every injury, Scott has been there with guidance and advice.

Scott says it’s about connecting the Houston Methodist level of care with the community that he’s in that day. Whether he’s visiting Hardin, Onalaska or High Island, he’s incredibly passionate about being able to help the coaches, athletes and families of the communities he works in. 

For more information about the athletic training services provided by Houston Methodist, call the Houston Methodist Sports Medicine Hotline, staffed 24/7 by athletic trainers, at 713.441.8440.