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Athletic Trainers Play Integral Role in Health Care

Monday, March 25, 2019

Prairie du Chien, WI - “Athletic trainers are an integral part of the services we offer on-site here at the hospital, and to several local high schools to assist student athletes during practices and games,” states Tom Wilkes, Physical Therapist and Rehabilitation Services Director at Crossing Rivers Health. “We are proud of the quality services they provide in the prevention, evaluation, management and treatment of injuries. Our two licensed athletic trainers, Mark Seeley and Penny Grassel, work closely with our physical therapists, physicians, and also with coaches, parents and athletes to treat musculoskeletal injuries.”

Athletic trainers are health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to prevent, diagnose and treat injuries and medical conditions for people in work, life and play including athletes, industrial workers, military service members and public servants. Athletic trainers should not be confused with personal trainers, who focus solely on fitness and conditioning.

Not all athletes wear jerseys¬- some are industrial athletes, such as tradesman, farmers, and materials handling occupations– require range of motion, strength and stamina, and hold the potential for musculoskeletal injuries. The sports medicine model of medicine works well for these patients as time is of the essence to get them back to work and back to full income.

Mark Seeley has been an athletic trainer for 28 years. He explained the importance of being on the field during practices and games. He said, “Athletic directors and coaches have their own jobs, which may pose a conflict of interest with athlete safety; they are not experts in managing injuries or sports-related illnesses, nor should they be responsible to do so. That’s where athletic trainers come in. Sports injuries can be serious; brain and spinal cord injuries and conditions such as heat illness can be life threatening if not recognized and properly handled. We can treat acute injuries right then and there. There are also athletes that have chronic illnesses such as diabetes and asthma. These athletes can and do safely exercise and participate, and the athletic trainer can help manage these critical health issues as they relate to physical exertion.”

“Being on-site during sporting events, we work with athletes to avoid injuries,” said Penny Grassel, an athletic trainer with 24 years of experience. Penny added, “When an injury occurs, we provide immediate care; and we rehabilitate patients after injuries or surgery. It’s a continuum of care.”

Crossing Rivers Health Licensed Athletic Trainers Mark Seeley and Penny Grassel provide sideline care to the athletes of the Prairie du Chien, River Ridge, Boscobel, and Wauzeka-Stueben school districts.

For additional information on athletic training and other rehabilitation services available through Crossing Rivers Health, visit or call 608-357-2216.