Athletic Trainers

Dignity Health Foundation East Valley Sports Medicine Program 

A recent survey conducted by Barrow Neurological Institute shows one in five Arizona high school athletes reports sustaining a sport-related concussion. The same survey showed that only three in 10 parents say schools and sports teams have done enough to prevent them. Concussion awareness appears to be driving a decline in organized-sport participation, specifically in football. More parents are restricting their student-athletes from participating and athletes themselves are declining to play. Orthopedic issues are another concern: children’s bones and tendons are still growing, increasing their likelihood of sustaining injuries. 


The Dignity Health East Valley Sports Medicine Program is offered in 14 high schools and seven junior highs in the Gilbert, Chandler and Queen Creek school districts. We proudly provide Division I collegiate athletics level of care, with oversight provided by Dignity Health and the school districts’ athletic departments. Clinical oversight is provided by OrthoArizona board-certified orthopedic surgeons, while the initial point of care is led by athletic trainers on the field, court and their training facilities. These trainers are employed by Dignity Health and sponsored by OrthoArizona, Arizona Spine and Joint Hospital, and United Surgical Partners, Inc. (USPI).

Barrow Neurological Institute offers their expertise in the areas of concussions and traumatic brain injuries. In particular Dr. Javier Cárdenas and Dr. Kareem Shaarawy, both experts in the field, have been instrumental in developing the program and will continue to guide its expansion. Our partnership with Barrow Brain & Spine also offers us unlimited access to expertise in concussions and traumatic brain injuries.

In conjunction with our prestigious partners, Dignity Health East Valley administers a comprehensive, community-based sports medicine program focusing on athletic training, sports injury care management, sport performance, nutrition, injury care, heat-related issues and of course, concussion management. As a mission-driven organization, our program stresses a commitment to high-quality care, education and sustainability within the communities we serve.

In the 2017-18 academic year, athletic trainers provided:

  • Community cost-savings of over $575,000 in injury/illness care
  • Treatment to more than 3,400 injuries, including 320 concussions
    • Concussed athletes treated by medical providers in our program typically safely return to play within 11 days, from their initial injuryo
    • Non-concussive, injured athletes who are treated by medical providers in our program, typically have a safe, same day return to play recovery from their initial injury 
  • Over 29,000 treatments, including over 3,700 injury evaluations by an allied healthcare professional (our athletic trainers on-site)
  • Our athletic trainers have referred over 870 injuries to our collaborative network, including our urgent care facilities and emergency centers, and team physician orthopedic offices.
    • Typically, our patients are being seen by a specialty physician within 24 hours of being referred by an athletic trainer

Chandler High School football players, athletic trainers and Dignity Health staff join in celebrating the gift from the Fiesta Bowl Charities before a recent football game. The Fiesta Bowl Organization has a simple mission: to enhance organizations that contribute to the success of their communities through youth, sports and education. Dignity Health had a perfect match in our Athletic Trainer program, keeping our young people safe and healthy while they pursue their sports and education. For more information or to make a personal gift to this program, contact the Dignity Health Foundation 480.728.3931 or 

Football, Mesquite High School Graduate
Jacob is an outstanding athlete. Unfortunately, he suffered a serious injury and was removed from the field on a spine board during the fall 2015 football season. "When I was lying down on the field hurt, I remember I didn't want Lauren and Suzie to leave my side. I didn't want to let go of their hands. I was so scared, but they made me feel better," remembered Jacob. He was dedicated and came to rehab his injury every day, always following the doctor's advice. "My athletic trainers were very supportive and protective, always making sure I was getting better every day," Jacob said thanking Dignity Health for providing the athletic trainers. "Every time someone was discouraging, they always had my back. They are the best athletic trainers in the world." 

Baseball, Desert Ridge High School Graduate
"The athletic trainers took care of my injury and helped me to get better. They took me in as if I was one of their family members. The crew had no problem getting me back on the field with great care, helping me prevent re-injury." 






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