Sports Medicine Center Staff Played Key Role in Keeping Athletes Safe at Recent Summer Camps

Everyone is excited for fall and football to arrive! We’re just weeks away from high school jamborees, the pageantry of college football and the Saints’ quest for another Lombardi Trophy.

Thibodaux Regional Health System is proud to have played a role in helping many of our athletes in South Louisiana and beyond prepare for this upcoming season. This summer, Thibodaux Regional’s medical staff and athletic trainers helped almost 2000 young football players train safely under the Louisiana sun, as they participated in either the Louisiana Line Camp (LLC) or the Manning Passing Academy (MPA).

“The biggest challenge at the Louisiana Line Camp is the heat,” Thibodaux Regional Health System’s Coordinator of Sports Medicine Larry D’Antoni says. “The LLC is much more intense than the MPA because of the drills that are done. This intensity results in dehydration and the potential for heat illness situations to arise.”

For the LLC, D’Antoni and his staff of 22 athletic trainers and sports medicine aides tended to 530 campers for 4 days and 8 practices. No easy feat. Football analyst and NFL Draft guru Mike Detillier was on hand for both the LLC and MPA. Detillier knows the challenges of both the gridiron and the South Louisiana climate all too well.

“It’s going to be hot and humid in Louisiana in June. You have to be prepared because it will physically drain you,” Detillier says. “The athletic trainers here that work the camps are great in watching for heat-related issues and constantly trying to get fluids to athletes to replenish what they lose in these workouts. Thibodaux Regional Medical Center does a great job of preparing, providing water and sports drinks to the campers or taking care of any kind of injury that occurs. We had numerous muscle cramps and pulls, as well as a knee injury that was serious at the Louisiana Line Camp. Thibodaux Regional was right there, ready to address any and every situation quickly and professionally.”

“MPA is challenging because of the sheer number of campers which was about 1200 this year,” D’Antoni says. “Some campers arrive with illnesses/injuries that we have to address. Others have special considerations (diabetes/allergies/etc.) that require special planning and management. We dedicate a lot of time and man hours in preparing for these situations. During the camp, some of the injuries are non-orthopedic (eye, stomach pain, etc.). We do see a fair amount of heat illness, but nothing compared to LLC.”

Thibodaux Regional’s sports medicine expertise is a crucial part of the MPA because it gives families, players and camp counselors the comfort of knowing they will receive an elite level of care if any injuries or illnesses were to occur.

“The hospital is almost within walking distance for the campers and counselors, if medical concerns are elevated,” Detillier says. “These are instructional camps, but they can get physical. Thibodaux Regional has great technology and staff to handle any head trauma or concussion problems. They’re readily available for IV’s if needed due to dehydration or heat related problems. They have a large group of orthopaedic doctors if a major injury would occur, as well as doctors that could treat any digestion or stomach issues that occur.”

Perhaps this year, there is no greater example of the trust in Thibodaux Regional’s elite level of sports medicine care than the story of Houston’s Calder Hodge, a double amputee who participated in the MPA using prosthetic limbs. Hodge didn’t skip a single session, including the speed and agility drills. He just wanted to be one of the guys, so his parents did not note his prosthetic limbs on his registration form. Being a seasoned sports medicine veteran, D’Antoni was able to honor Hodge’s wishes of just blending in, while still being prepared … should the need to respond arise.

“Calder didn’t want any special treatment.” D’Antoni says. “Had there been any issues with his participation, we would have been ready to address them. We have a great community of physicians who were present throughout most of the camp. The young man was an inspiration to all of us.”

Detillier’s radio broadcast booth sat right near where Hodge was training. Detillier is one of the best scouts in the game. Detillier has seen it all, yet even he was impressed with Hodge’s courage and how Thibodaux Regional balanced the need to keep Hodge safe while simultaneously allowing him to just blend in with the group.

Now, D’Antoni and his staff of athletic trainers are preparing to fan out across the Bayou Region as we count down to the kickoff of football season. They’ll be sharing their wealth of expertise in an effort to keep our youth safe as they play a game we all love to watch and cheer.