Durham, N.C. — When high school athletes suit up for games Friday night, odds are there will be injuries.
Most cases won't require emergency care, but the rest typically wait for Monday to have a doctor check them out.
Now, Duke University Hospital is offering a special Friday night clinic to help student athletes at nine high schools in Durham, Orange and Wake counties who suffer less critical injuries.
“Whether it's a concussion, whether it's an ankle sprain, whether it's an ACL injury or different type of fracture, those are all things that we'll be outfitted to take,” said Dr. Tracy Ray, an orthopaedic surgeon with Duke Sports Medicine.
The clinic’s concept goes beyond waiting for athletes with injuries to arrive.
“We are there helping the athletic trainers from the schools. We are helping cover the football game,” said Alanna Baker, a Duke certified athletic trainer.
Baker can help the school's staff evaluate injuries on the field and then inform sports medicine specialists at the clinic before players arrive.
“This way, your care is much more definitive, and it's a lot quicker,” Ray said.
Players who need it can return Saturday morning for therapy, rather than waiting until Monday.
“They get a couple days’ head start, so that could make the difference of them returning to practice a couple days later,” Baker said.
Duke's staff on the field can also help with judgment calls, especially when they involve concussions.
“Making that determination of who goes back to play and who does not is vital on the sideline,” Ray said. “We really want our schools to feel special and get that VIP treatment.”