STHS Sports Medicine program showcases its skills, knowledge at Bay Area conference |

STHS Sports Medicine program showcases its skills, knowledge at Bay Area conference

Anthony Gentile
South Tahoe Sports Medicine program students on the floor of Oracle Arena during the Northern California High Schools Sports Medicine Seminar on March 9.
Courtesy Photo |

The Sports Medicine program at South Tahoe High is one of the most unique in the country. On the field, in the training room and in the classroom, that fact is continuously on display.

Last month, the program showcased its skills in the Bay Area. Forty-four sports medicine students attended the Northern California High Schools Sports Medicine Seminar at Oracle Arena in Oakland on March 9, and on the home floor of the Golden State Warriors they were on top of their game.

“It’s a validity of our program — what we’ve already learned is what we’re supposed to be learning,” program director Isaiah Tannaci said. “Our students have gone in there both years and ran the show.”

The fourth annual conference featured 500 students from more than 25 schools, and was run by students from nearby San Jose State and Ohlone College. No school traveled farther to the event than South Tahoe — and no school came as well prepared.

“When they would ask us questions, we would know the answers and see other people struggling to come up with it,” senior Kristen Harnett said. “That was nice.”

On-court demonstrations at Oracle Arena included elements from backboarding and splinting to concussion management and exercise. The students also heard lectures from personnel with the Oakland Raiders and an area high school strength and conditioning coach.

Students additionally got the chance to channel their inner Splash Brother at a 3-point station, then watch Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in action. That night, they were in attendance to see the Warriors beat the Utah Jazz and improve to 57-6 on the season — a game that included a 55-foot halftime buzzer beater from Curry.

“It was a blast — we had a lot of fun out there,” senior Garrett Knudson said.

The next day, Vikings sports medicine students toured the facilities at Stanford. They got an up-close look at Stanford’s technology — and left impressed by mouthpieces used for concussion research, stationary foam rollers and a state-of-the-art human performance lab.

“It was a good introduction for them to see a Division I sports medicine athletic program and how they operate,” Tanacci said, “and for them to see it’s not that much different than what we do here, just at a different level.”

“We were at a prestigious school and we knew what they were talking about and knew about the stuff they have,” senior Erin Georguson said. “It’s stuff we’ve learned.”

For the program’s seniors that have completed all three years of the curriculum the trip created an appreciation for just how far they — and sports medicine at South Tahoe — have come. Nearly 25 students are in their third year of the program, and a majority of that group are seniors.

“We’ve been the guinea pigs since round one,” Knudson said.

“We’ve had all of our classes together for the past three years and we’re all really close,” Georguson added. “It’s hard to describe the bond that our class has — we call each other family. This program is incredible.”

Harnett, Knudson and Georguson are all interested in careers in the medical field, and STHS’ Sports Medicine program has both confirmed their interest and shed light on future career paths. Georguson indicated she wants to major in science with a specialty in athletic training.

“This is exactly what I want to do, and the Sports Medicine program has shown me that,” she said. “I knew I wanted to do something in the medical field, but I really had no idea. This is the first thing I’ve really felt super comfortable with and felt like I belonged.”

This spring, the program’s third-year seniors will move on from South Tahoe armed with enough experience and qualifications to be hired as a physical therapy aid, according to Tannaci. As the first group of students to complete the program, they have set its standard for the future.

“The students that have been doing it for three years are setting the example and setting the bar for future classes,” Tannaci said. “Dedication and wanting to learn more, and an interest in sports medicine is what keeps the program strong.”

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