Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

January 10, 2007

Skating Championships Offer Whitworth Athletic-Training Students
Cutting-Edge Experience

As competitors polish their routines for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships to be held Jan. 20-28 in Spokane, a group of Whitworth College athletic-training students are honing their skills to assist in providing nearly around-the-clock medical care throughout the competition.

Fifteen students will work with teams of doctors, athletic trainers and physical therapists from Group Health, the event's official medical sponsor. The students will work under the direction of Ed Reisman, M.D., a family practice physician and former competitive skater who will serve as medical director for the championships. Reisman is also Whitworth's team physician and works closely with students in the college's nationally accredited athletic-training program that emphasizes hands-on clinical experience as well as academic rigor.

"Dr. Reisman knows the level of preparation our students receive and has seen the quality of care they provide our student-athletes, so he recognized that they could be a valuable part of the medical team for the skating championships," says Russ Richardson, associate professor and director of athletic training at Whitworth. "Given the caliber of athletes that will be involved in this event, and the fact that figure skating isn't an NCAA intercollegiate sport, this presents a unique learning opportunity for our students."

Richardson and other medical and skating experts will instruct students – 13 from Whitworth and two from Eastern Washington University – about the specific medical, biomechanical and psychological issues faced by elite figure skaters. The course will cover topics ranging range from conditioning and common injuries to the anatomy of a figure skate and a double-toe loop. Instruction will take place in the classroom and on the ice, including a simulation of an emergency response to a serious skating injury.

"Every sport has its own injury profile based on the activity of the sport," Richardson says. "Figure skating involves high speeds, rotary motions and an unyielding surface, which can lead to acute and chronic injuries that our students don't necessarily see in other sports and will need to understand for the skating championships."

Medical teams, each of which will include a student, will be ice-side at both skating venues, and at a medical suite in the skaters' official hotel for up to 18 hours a day that skaters are training or performing. The students will assist in providing comprehensive medical care, including initial injury assessment, application of therapeutic modalities, appropriate first aid, and preventive activities such as stretching and massage.

Established in 1987, Whitworth's athletic-training program enrolls 50 majors in a rigorous curriculum that includes 1,200 hours of clinical experience and prepares students for certification by the Board of Certification for Athletic Training. Several graduates have been selected for internships with professional sports teams; Whitworth athletic-training alums are sought after for teaching and athletic-training positions in high-school, college and university athletic departments. A number of Whitworth athletic-training graduates have earned advanced degrees to pursue other health-care professions including physician assistants, chiropractors and physical therapists.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college, which enrolls more than 2,500 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Russ Richardson, director of athletic training, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3244 or rrichardson@whitworth.edu.

Greg Orwig, director of communications, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4580 or gorwig@whitworth.edu.

Katie McCarthy, media relations, Group Health, (206) 448-2149 or mccarthy.kx@ghc.org.

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