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Sports Medicine and Training

Our strength and conditioning programs are designed to maximize our student-athletes' health, on and off the field. 

We implement injury prevention practices, assess and diagnose injury, manage care, and apply musculoskeletal rehabilitative techniques. Learn more below.

What is a Certified Athletic Trainer?

Certified Athletic Trainers (ATC) are health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to optimize patient and client activity and participation in athletics, work and life. The practice of athletic training encompasses the prevention, examination and diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of emergent, acute, subacute, and chronic neuromusculoskeletal conditions and certain medical conditions in order to minimize subsequent impairments, functional limitations, disability, and societal limitations. Athletic trainers are required to be certified according to the rules and regulations set forth by the Board of Certification (BOC), the national certifying agency for athletic trainers. In addition, to practice and deliver the services of an athletic trainer in New York State, the athletic trainer must be registered and licensed by New York State.

National Athletic Training Association. (2011). Athletic Training. 
Retrieved October 5, 2011, from NATA.

Strength and Conditioning at Packer

At The Packer Collegiate Institute, our athletic trainer holds a certified strength and conditioning coach (CSCS) certification. Certified strength and conditioning coaches conduct sport-specific testing sessions, design and implement safe and effective strength training and conditioning programs, provide guidance for athlete nutrition, injury prevention, and reconditioning. The CSCS is the only strength training and conditioning certification to be nationally accredited by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

National Strength and Conditioning Association. (2011). About the CSCS Credential

For more information go to National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

Injury Prevention

At Packer our coaches and athletic trainer are implementing the latest in scientifically researched injury prevention techniques. We place a great emphasis in how we prepare our student–athletes for activity. We are using an active warm-up, also known as a functional warm-up, dynamic warm-up, or movement preparation. This type of warm-up uses muscle activation techniques, mobility, stability and agility exercises, ACL and major knee injury prevention exercises, and movement patterns that are sport-specific. In the last 10 years there has been a paradigm shift from static stretching as a warm-up or pre-activity preparation to a more active movement- orientated warm up. Research has shown that the benefits of an active warm-up highly outweigh those of a static warm-up.

Static stretching holds a joint for 20-30 seconds in a stretched position. Active warm-up stretching uses a series of movements and exercises that challenges balance, joint range of motion, stability, strength, and activates the central nervous system all while increasing the core temperature. With implementation of the active warm-up we hope to decrease overall injuries.

Boyle, M. (2004). Functional Movement. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. 29-53.

Verstegan, M. (2004). Core Performance. Tempe, Arizona: Joxy LLC. 33-55.

Student-Athlete Return to Play Policy

The student-athlete has the responsibility of reporting injuries and illnesses to the coach, athletic trainer, or athletic director. Early recognition of pain can help the management of inflammation and musculoskeletal health for the athlete as they participate in sport.

Acute injuries and illnesses: types of injuries that are usually the result of a specific impact or traumatic event to the body. In the event of an acute injury or illness, the athletic trainer will make an assessment or diagnosis and will decide whether it is safe for the athlete to return to play. If the athletic trainer decides the injury or illness is of a serious nature he will inform the coach, athletic director, and parents. The student athlete will then be referred to a physician for further evaluation. Once a student visits a physician for an injury or illness, they must obtain a physician’s note clearing them for a return to participation.

Chronic injuries and illnesses: illness or disease that develops slowly and is persistent and long lasting. Many chronic injuries have mild symptoms that are often ignored or simply overlooked. Student -athletes are encouraged to have the athletic trainer assess any pains or discomforts that they may have. The athletic trainer will inform the coach, athletic director, and parents of what the condition is and what can be done. The athletic trainer will create a rehabilitative or maintenance program to help improve or manage the condition. Included in musculoskeletal rehabilitation are active-isolated stretching, myofascial release techniques, stability, strengthening, and mobility exercises. It is understood that participation in physical activity puts stress on the body and can cause physical discomfort. It is the goal of the athletic trainer to communicate the severity of the discomfort and the implications of further activity to the athlete and the parents. If it is agreed between the student-athlete, athletic trainer, parent, coach, and athletic director that the student athlete cannot perform at 80% of their capability then the student will not be cleared to play and will be referred to a physician or specialist for further evaluation. Let it be stressed that a student- athlete is never encouraged to “play through pain.” when doing so may cause further injury.

Concussion Management

If you suspect your child has suffered a head injury, please read the Head Injury Information below. Should you have any questions, please contact Mike Cunningham at or (718) 250-0400.

Head Injury Information

Symptoms of a concussion may not appear immediately and may change over time. The first 24 hours are vital to determine possible severity. The following information is offered to help guide you.

Symptoms of a concussion are the result of a temporary change in the brain’s function. In most cases, the symptoms of a concussion generally resolve over a short period of time; however, in some cases, symptoms will last for weeks or longer. Children and adolescents are more susceptible to concussions and take longer than adults to recover.

It is imperative that any student who is suspected of having a concussion is removed from athletic activity (e.g. recess, PE class, sports) and remains out of such activities until evaluated and cleared to return to activity by a physician.

Symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Balance difficulties, dizziness, or clumsy movements
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light and/or sound
  • Nausea, vomiting and/or loss of appetite
  • Irritability, sadness or other changes in personality
  • Feeling sluggish, foggy or light-headed
  • Concentration or focusing problems
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue and/or sleep issues — sleeping more or less than usual

Students who develop any of the following signs, or if signs and symptoms worsen, should be seen and evaluated immediately at the nearest hospital emergency room.

  • Headaches that worsen
  • Seizures
  • Looks drowsy and/or cannot be awakened
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Unable to recognize people or places
  • Weakness or numbing in arms or legs, facial drooping
  • Unsteady gait
  • Change in pupil size in one eye
  • Significant irritability
  • Any loss of consciousness
  • Suspicion for skull fracture: blood draining from ear or clear fluid from the nose

Packer utilizes an innovative concussion management program for our student-athletes. The program is called the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 5 (SCAT 5).The SCAT 5 is a standardized concussion exam utilized by many medical professionals. The test evaluates different components such as memory, balance, cognitive ability, etc. A baseline test will be administered to each 7th, 9th and 11th Grade student. The SCAT 5 test is administered at Packer under the supervision of our Athletic Trainer, Mike Cunningham during the season.

If the athlete is believed to have suffered a concussion during competition, the exam can be taken again and the data is compared to the baseline test. This information is then used as a tool to assist the athletic training staff and treating physicians in determining the extent of the injury, monitoring recovery, and in making safe return to play decisions. If an injury of this nature occurs, we will be in contact with you. In addition, Packer has a Concussion Management Plan in place as well as a Concussion Management Team (made up of the division head, school learning specialist, deans, school nurse, athletic trainer, and athletic director) to ensure that injured athletes are well taken care of both on the field and off.

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