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Mt. Spokane students ace 300-question sports medicine exam to gain national title

Gaining a win off the field, Mt. Spokane High School students recently aced a grueling 300-question sports medicine exam to clinch a national title.

A team of 15 took the American Academic Competition Institute’s National Sports Medicine Competition test on May 19. With a collective score, the students won the national top position in the medium-sized school division.

Eight of the students also earned All-American honors for written and oral exam answers.

Overall, the students demonstrated knowledge in sports medicine and athletic training in topics ranging from first aid and emergency procedures to anatomy evaluation techniques, specifically for the knee and upper leg.

It’s good leverage for future plans. A majority of the students plan health careers such as nurses, practitioners, sports medicine doctors or athletic trainers. Mt. Spokane offers different sports medicine classes and a similar-focused club with members who enter competitions.

Also, if students finish two of the sports medicine classes graded 80% or higher, members gain three credits from the Community Colleges of Spokane.

“I joined sports medicine my freshman year, and club about halfway through that year,” said Zeke Miller, a senior and an All-American winner.

“I learned I really enjoy the sports medicine field, and I’m actually going to college to now become an athletic trainer. It’s good for setting you up for that and building your skills.”

Miller said he plans to study sports medicine in college. As a student-athlete, the sports medicine focus in high school helped him learn more about strength and conditioning techniques and injury prevention.

“It’s helped me think more about what’s best for my body to prepare myself for competition.”

A state organization for sports medicine competitions involves 92 schools, mostly on the West Side of the state, said Breann Booher, Mt. Spokane’s sports medicine teacher and head athletic trainer.

“In the Spokane area, we’re one of the only ones,” Booher said.

“The primary focus of the sports medicine club is preparing kids for health care careers. It does have an emphasis in athletic training and sports medicine, but several of my students will graduate and go on to other health care professions.”

The Mt. Spokane students who won in the national title category include: Miller, Mackenzie Bell, Addison Zandt, Annelise Hoskinson, Kevin Pickering, Alexa Mather, Isabella Granlund, Lyssa Bingley, Bryten Gumke, Hannah Brosnan, Nevaeh Dompier, Hailey Detling, Zoe Caleton, Heidi Neumiller and Julia Kolman.

The students with All-American honors are: Miller, Hoskinson, Gumke, Bell, ingley, Brosnan, Mather and Detling.

Booher said her students work in the school’s athletic training room with her and another athletic trainer, to assist athletes such as those with the football team, basketball team and wrestling.

“They’re able to see what we learn in the classroom actually applied.”

The students get mentoring options via Northwest Orthopedic Specialists, and with Dr. Ryan Baker, a Shriners Children’s Spokane specialist and school athletic team doctor, Booher said.

Next year, the students hope to do internships at Shriners Children’s Spokane, she said. They’ve in the past observed surgeries and job shadowed.

“Dr. Ryan Baker comes once a week when athletics are going on, and the kids are able to see him and talk to him,” she said. “He’s also come in and done quite a bit of guest speaking with my Sports Medicine 2 and 3 classes.”

Students can complete Sports Medicine 1 through 4. The club offers a chance to learn practical skills and quiz each other on sports medicine, said Gumke, who is weighing a physician assistant or nurse practitioner career.

“I think we worked really hard throughout the year, and it was enjoyable to see all that hard work pay off,” Gumke said. “We spent a lot of time working together and quizzing each other.”

“Part of the practical was first aid that includes assessing (eye) pupil activity, taping procedures or identifying different anatomical structures. We practiced that on each other.”

Mather, a senior, said the national test was challenging, so it felt like an accomplishment.

“Being in the classroom and that environment led me to choose that I wanted to be in the health care field,” Mather said. “Right now, I’m attending Washington State University and planning a bachelor’s in science in nursing.”

Mt. Spokane students must pass Sports Medicine 1 and 2 for college credit, but the high school program is expanding. This is the first year that five students graduated after completing four years of sports medicine.

Booher has about 120 students in classes, and then about 20 to 40 of them choose to be in the after-school club.

This was the school team’s first national title, after taking second place two years ago.

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