In Honor of the Good Guys

Sometimes the smallest, seemingly most mundane details of a story are what stick with you. That was the case when I read this edition’s feature on protecting young athletes from the heat. It wasn’t so much the story as it was a passing mention of something I feel needs to be emphasized. The article describes the various protocols that are in place to monitor and treat student-athletes. The individuals who ensure that those safety measures are in place? The  coaches — yes, team personnel — sure. But did you know there are local physicians who volunteer to watch over the athletes at games and address any concerns? 

I’m always amazed that more people aren’t aware of the amazing dedication of these local physicians who take the time to ensure the safety and health of kids while balancing their own hectic schedules. 

I was once one of those youths sweating it out on the field. I played prep and collegiate football, and injuries are a part of the game. I broke a finger more than once, but I was fortunate to never suffer a significant injury. I remember one Friday night while suited up for the Kathleen Red Devils, I accidentally stuck my hand in an opponent’s face mask and came away with a nasty slice across my hand. We taped it up, rubbed some dirt on it (just kidding), and I kept playing. 

The team physician at the time was Dr. Franklin Bertram, who just recently passed away this year. After the game, he scrubbed that wound out with a brush and proceeded to sew me up. As bad as that hurt, the good doctor took care of me … and all in a volunteer capacity. I’ve never forgotten. I still have the scar on my hand today, and will forever be a fan of the good guys like Dr.Bertram. 

It really does take a village. We’re here to salute and support that village. 

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