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Dose of real-life skill appeals

Spokane Valley Tech offers sports medicine

West Valley sophomore cheerleader Kensley Seacrest walked into the small room behind the gymnasium with a problem. She had been working on a stunt with her squad and hurt her wrists.

“It actually really hurts,” she said.

To help with the problem, senior Corbin Smith taped up Seacrest’s wrists before sending her back to practice.

Smith is part of the new sports medicine class offered by Spokane Valley Tech, a new branch of NEWTECH Skills Center created by Central Valley, East Valley, West Valley and Freeman school districts.

“We practiced for about two weeks before we actually started on athletes,” Smith said.

The center has been offering fire science and cosmetology in Spokane Valley since fall 2010. This year, aerospace and advanced manufacturing also were added. A new home being built for the skills center at Sprague Avenue and University Road is expected to open in January.

“I think it will be one of our most popular programs,” said Scott Oakshott, director of Spokane Valley Tech.

There are six students taking sports medicine. The class meets Monday through Friday. Keith Eggleston, sports medicine coordinator for Rockwood Clinic, teaches the class, which is at West Valley High School this semester.

Winter sports are just starting up at West Valley, and while students in sports medicine are in class, students with minor injuries can come into the room and get taped up. Eggleston said the students are supervised every step of the way, because they are not licensed.

“It’s a real life situation,” Eggleston said.

Those situations can include sprained ankles or knees, concussions and skin conditions.

Sarah Marro, a senior at West Valley, said she hurt her knee a couple of months ago playing soccer. She has been working with Eggleston and the sports medicine students to rehabilitate her knee. Eggleston walked her through a series of exercises for a while before his students took over.

“I want to work in the medical field,” said Nicole McDonald, a senior from West Valley. She said she probably wants to be a pediatric nurse, which is why she took the class, even though it meets after school.

Smith said she enjoys the hands-on learning at the class. She said she was nervous at first that she would tape up people incorrectly.

“That’s why we have supervision,” Eggleston said.

The program is designed as a steppingstone to other programs in the medical field after graduation.

“The sports medicine curriculum gives students a good foundation to prepare them for a variety of health care careers,” Eggleston said.

In the coming months, the Central Valley School District will ask the state Legislature for funding to expand its programs to include finance, biomedicine, engineering, entrepreneurship, computer science and alternative energy. If approved, those programs will launch in September 2014.

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