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Pitman to offer Sports Medicine course
Sports Med pic
Pitman High athletic trainer Markus Turner is one of six local school staff members being honored in the Employees Making a Difference program (Journal file photo). - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal

The Turlock Unified School District has always emphasized its Career Technical Education programs by providing high school courses related to professions students may take an interest in, from agriculture to industrial technology. Now, Pitman High School students will have one more option to choose from next year when the school provides its first Sports Medicine course, giving pupils additional opportunities in the health science and medical technology pathway.

“We have a lot of students in our high schools that have a background in playing sports and may have an interest in this when declaring a major for college,” said CTE Principal David Lattig. “We’re always looking to line our CTE courses with where the jobs are, and we want to develop a full patient care pathway to introduce students to health care careers.”

Currently, PHS offers Anatomy and Physiology classes, and now with the addition of Sports Medicine, students can move on from the generic science course into a career-specific option which can give them a head start on their college degree. The concept is similar to the Certified Nursing Assistant CTE program already offered at both PHS and Turlock High School, but there will be no college credit earned by taking the course –  just priceless experience.

“Specifically, this course will be giving kids a foundation and prerequisite skills for college if this is the direction they want to go,” said Lattig.

The Sports Medicine course will lay the foundation for further study of structure and function of the musculoskeletal system, biomechanical sciences and those students interested in the health professions, including doctors, nurses, physical therapists, sports psychologists or athletic trainers. To prepare for careers in these different fields, students will learn about injury prevention, recognition, evaluation, post-injury treatment and improving performance.

“Anyone with a health care mindset that wants to help people should consider the course,” said Lattig.

PHS athletic trainer Markus Turner has seen the interest that his students have in athletic training over the course of his 15-year career at the school, making the addition of a Sports Medicine course something that many students will benefit from.

“A lot of kids at Pitman are interested in this field,” said Turner. “If you love sports, which a lot of these kids do, and you ask them what they want to do with their lives, they say that if they can’t make it to the pros then they want to work with athletes. They see this as a viable option.”

Turner hopes to see students in the Sports Medicine course next year not only gain valuable information in the classroom, but on-field experience as well. Through observation in the school’s training room and at practices and games, Turner believes those who take the class will have firsthand access to the career that they wouldn’t receive otherwise.

“This is a great opportunity for kids to get early experience in this field,” said Turner. “A lot of students before coming to high school had no idea what Sports Medicine was, but then they started playing sports and it opened them up to a whole new world of, ‘Wow, there’s actually someone who treats athletic injuries.’ It flips that switch that maybe this is something they want to do.”

According to Lattig, a new instructor will be hired at PHS to teach the course. Though Sports Medicine will not yet be offered at THS, he did not rule out the possibility in the future.

“Career Technical Education opens so many doors for so many kids,” said Lattig. “Ultimately, we’re trying to get kids ready for the workforce and college rather than putting them on just one path.”