Trainer A Welcome Addition To Campus

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New Payson High School athletic trainer Jerod Torrey scrambled from the taping room to the athletic fields trying to warn coaches that lightning strikes were occurring in the distance and players should be indoors.

"Lightning can jump 10 miles at a time," he told soccer coach Roger Wholly.

The hectic scene unfolded Aug. 9 during after-school practice time for the Longhorn football, soccer and cross country teams.

Monitoring lightning strikes with a state-of-the-art hand-held device -- then warning coaches --s one of the many duties of Torrey who works at the high school, but is actually employed by Payson Regional Medical Center.

According to PRMC marketing director Cory Houghton, Torrey is assigned to the school district as part of a new sports medicine program aimed at limiting athletic injuries and rehabilitating those who have been sidelined.

Even when school is not in session, Houghton said, Torrey will be kept busy treating the Rim Country's amateur athletes and weekend warriors.

PHS athletic director Dave Bradley said he breathed a huge sigh of relief when PRMC officials told him the school would be getting a certified athletic trainer at no expense to the district.

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Certified athletic trainer Jerod Torrey has a hand-held electronic device at his disposal that shows where and how many lightning strikes are occurring.

"There is a lot less worry with him on campus," Bradley said. "Having Jerod is one of the best things to happen to our sports programs."

Torrey graduated from Iowa State University in 2004, and during his stint as a student, was on the school's track and field team.

He also served as a student trainer for the Iowa State football team.

Torrey says he learned of the job opening in Payson while surfing the National Athletic Trainer's Association website.

Although he's only been in Payson a short time, he's settling in.

"So far it seems to be a nice town with a lot of good people," he said.

In addition to the usual duties of monitoring the weather, taping and treating injures, certified trainers assist physical therapists with exercise programs and patient evaluations, supervise strength training and conditioning programs and counsel student athletes with their prescribed therapeutic regimens and health maintenance programs.

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