Last summer many local athletes preparing for school sports in the Mid-Columbia region benefited from an intensive program intended to make them a little stronger, a little faster and a lot less prone to injury during competition.
Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles offered free Summer Strength Camps to high school students this summer in The Dalles, Hood River and Dufur.
Two camps were specifically designed for high school football players; three others were geared toward any sport. At all of the camps, coaches put the emphasis on strength training, preventing common injuries, camaraderie and fun.
Fifteen-year-old Jayde Marx, a freshman at Horizon Christian in Hood River, came out to improve her defensive skills in anticipation of basketball season. She says the strength-building classes were challenging but fun, and definitely improved her conditioning.
“Besides the strength training, it helps you with your social skills and it is fun to be with your friends and do things you wouldn’t normally do,” she says.
For Ian Cleveland, the camps offered a chance to get to know his fellow players on the Dufur High team. He the camps did what they were intended to do.
“They will get you in shape,” he says. “If you’re already in shape, they will give you a head start so you can start the season a little better.”
The staff assembled by MCMC physical therapist Nicholas Dills, impressed Jack Henderson, superintendent of the Dufur School District and football coach at Dufur High School. Dills was assisted by a team of MCMC trainers overseen by sports medicine physician Dr. Mark Cullen, of MCMC Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics.
“It’s just a great resource that Mid-Columbia Medical Center has made available to us,” Henderson says. “There are very few 1A high schools in the state that have athletic trainers available to them during the season and off-season. It’s a huge service and we appreciate it.”
While recognizing the substantial investment by MCMC, Dills says it’s the right thing to do ethically and morally for the community so athletes can avoid injury.
“I never want to see a kid come in with an injury that’s preventable,” Dills says.
“We want to do pre-hab, not rehab.”
During the school year, they intend to offer more pre-season camps, coaching clinics and a weights and strength-training class in Dufur.