What helped make the Littleton High School (LHS) varsity boys soccer have a winning season? Coach Ryan Walsh thinks it has to do with hard work and a new partnership with Emerson’s Clough Sports Medicine & Performance team. We asked Walsh about this innovative partnership; read on to learn more.
The 2019 Littleton High School boys varsity soccer team with coach Ryan Walsh standing on the far left and athletic trainer Matt White on the far right.
Why did the LHS soccer team partner with Emerson’s Sports Medicine & Performance team this season?
Our athletic director thought that forming a relationship with Emerson’s Sports Medicine & Performance (SM&P) team would be valuable because last season we had several of our best players out with injuries and it really cost us. We wanted to explore ways we can keep all of our players strong and healthy throughout the season. Emerson’s SM&P trainers have the expertise to assess our players during games and respond quickly to any injuries or medical issues to prevent them from getting worse.
Can you share a few examples of how the Sports Medicine & Performance team helped LHS athletes stay strong throughout the season?
SM&P trainers Meghan Coughlin and Matt White were at every home game and all of the playoff games. They were actively observing each player and responded immediately to any issues. If a player slipped on the ball, was kicked during the game, or anything else, Meg or Matt were right there to evaluate them and care for them. This enabled the coaches to focus on the game and strategy — we knew our players’ health was in great hands with Meg and Matt.
Having the athletic trainers there kept my mind at ease knowing they would take great care of our athletes if they got hurt. We had full confidence in their decisions about the players’ health and ability to get back in the game, sit out, or receive medical care. During the playoffs, an opposing player was showing signs of hypothermia and Meg sprung into action to care for him. The player recovered well and we were all thankful Meg was there.
What did the student athletes think about the relationship?
The students loved it. The athletic trainers love soccer and the kids could tell. It made for a very respectful and appreciative partnership both on and off the field.
Do you think it helped contribute to your winning season?
This is an obvious answer: YES! For the coaching staff, it took the stress off checking on injured players. We would always try to make the right decisions, but nothing can replace having a true expert at the games. It was a very successful season, the boys’ finished second of 19 in the Central Mass playoffs. More important, they finished strong and healthy.