LUCOM student-doctors ramp up involvement in athletics
At Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM), student-doctors through cooperation with LU Athletics, have rare opportunities to work with local physicians and athletic trainers to treat athletes who compete at the highest level of collegiate sport. LUCOM-Student American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine (SAOASM) is the student organization that works to establish these hands-on experiences.
LUCOM-SAOASM witnessed a significant growth in membership over the past year, which led to more events for student-doctors to become involved in athletics both locally and around the state of Virginia.
While LUCOM’s academic year has only just gotten underway, the group has already had a busy first few weeks. During Orientation Week for the Class of 2022, several members of LUCOM-SAOASM staffed the First Aid tent under the supervision of Mark E. Rolfs, DO, PharmD, assistant professor of Family Medicine, at LUCOM’s annual Service Day; a field day for local Lynchburg youth. During that time, student-doctors were prepared to handle minor injuries, heat related illnesses, and other various complications. Those who participated were able to practice Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) techniques on patients while also reviewing the basics of sports medicine.
During the end of July, Liberty University hosted the annual Virginia Commonwealth Games. This particular event, provided LUCOM-SAOASM members the opportunity to participate in sideline shadowing; observing athletic trainers from Liberty. Some of the sporting events included track and field, lacrosse, baseball, and judo.
The beginning of August brought the need for sports physicals for the upcoming school year. On Aug. 3, 32 second-year medical students helped LUCOM clinicians provide, free of cost, pre-participation sports physicals to students at New Covenant School. They screened for blood pressure, checked height and weight, performed eye exams and assisted clinicians in performing physical exams on student-athletes. “It was a great opportunity for student-doctors to have hands-on experience with patients and improve their physical exam skills,” said Megan Boyer, president of LUCOM-SAOASM.
On Aug. 18, third-year LUCOM student-doctors, LUCOM-OMM fellows, and LUCOM faculty provided First Aid and OMM treatments at CrossFit Krypton’s Compete for A Cure in Chesapeake, Va. The annual competition took place near LUCOM’s very first third-year rotation core site in Chesapeake, the Chesapeake Regional Medical Center.
This fall, LUCOM-SAOASM will keep students busy with various opportunities to shadow Liberty University team physicians at various NCAA and Club Sports competitions, providing hands-on learning experiences. “Being a part of LUCOM-SAOASM is great because we have a chance to learn from some of the best team physicians, who work with athletes at the highest level of sport,” Boyer added. “Having this background will make us better physicians in the future when we're called up to be treating our patients that are athletes.”
LUCOM-SAOASM will soon host a joint injection simulation lab where Dr. Rolfs will review basic anatomy of joints including the shoulder and knee, walk students through the procedure of doing a joint injection and then allow for practice on the various shoulder and knee joint injection models from LUCOM’s Standardized Patient and Simulation Lab.
In the spring, LUCOM-SAOASM members will also have the opportunity to participate in a basic splinting techniques class, also taught by Dr. Rolfs, in preparation for summer sports and athletic events.
“All of these opportunities prepare LUCOM student-doctors to be community leaders due to the applicability of sports medicine to general primary care practice as well as everyday life outside of the office. In the future, we will be the physicians in our communities treating athletes at all levels and we need to be prepared to treat them to the best of our abilities,” said Boyer.