, On the Sidelines… Caring for High School and College Level Athletes During Games

Since 2002, Dr. Trenhaile has been covering numerous athletic teams in the Rockford area including those of Rockford Lutheran, Belvidere, Belvidere North, and Harlem high schools. He has also covered college events at Rockford University since 2004.

Game coverage involves being on the sidelines at the contest facility in order to evaluate athletes and make determinations regarding the severity of an injury. Dr. Trenhaile works in conjunction with each team’s athletic trainer who has an understanding unique to each athlete and his capabilities. Together, they are responsible for making the decision of whether an athlete can safely play, needs to rest and ice an injury before returning to the game or needs medical intervention either at a clinic or immediately at the ER. In addition to collaborating with each team’s athletic trainer, Dr. Trenhaile interfaces with the coaching staff, athletic department personnel and, in some cases, health department teams.

Football is a sport where acute injuries can be expected. Dr. Trenhaile tends to a vast range of athletic injuries including cuts and scrapes, eye injuries, dislocated fingers, shoulders and knee caps, and less frequently limb fractures and spine issues. The high level of gymnastics performed by cheerleaders at football games may result in his caring for members of the cheer squad as well.

When asked why he covers so many teams, Dr. Trenhaile explains, “I simply enjoy sports and have played them my entire life. I can’t play like I used to, but still love to be part of the contest at hand.” Being a team physician requires not only medical knowledge regarding the athlete’s injury but also an understanding of the sport being covered as it pertains to the athlete.

Dr. Trenhaile acknowledges the risks involved with playing football but believes that properly fitted equipment and precise coaching will help an athlete avoid serious injury. Strength and flexibility training are also critical to a player’s ability to manage the physical demands of the sport. Using a medical backdrop to work with and educate athletes is something Dr. Trenhaile enjoys. “It’s fun, and I think I have some knowledge to offer that will help athletes enjoy their sport and stay healthy.”