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Students Gain First-Hand Experiences Caring for Athletes at the Idaho High School State Wrestling Championships

March 3, 2022

A group of physical therapy students at Holt Arena

Idaho State University College of Education students partnered with Portneuf Medical Center’s Sports Medicine program recently to help provide for the assessment and care of injuries sustained by athletes at the Idaho High School State Wrestling Championships in Holt Arena. Nineteen students from ISU’s Department of Human Performance and Sport Studies took part in the hands-on learning opportunity. Students assisted PMC’s medical staff by managing nosebleeds and other wounds on the mats, and also by helping PMC physicians and athletic trainers to address and manage other wrestling-related injuries. 

Caroline Faure, a Professor of Human Performance and Sport Studies, recruited the students from her Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries class. She feels opportunities like this are invaluable when it comes to student learning. 

 “This was such an incredible opportunity for our students. We learn a lot about the care and prevention of athletic injuries, but with the help of the incredible medical team from Portneuf Medical Center’s Sports Medicine program, our students got to see actual injuries happen, and they had the opportunity to apply some of those skills they learned in the classroom,” she said. 

Faure also applauded PMC staff for the way they embraced mentoring the students professionally. 

“The medical staff - the doctors, the athletic trainers, the physical therapists, the paramedics - all of them really embraced the opportunity to help teach our students and to provide professional guidance to them. Our students were able to ask a lot of questions. There were a lot of injuries that happened at the tournament. Our students saw fractures, dislocations, sprains and strains, open wounds and a whole lot more. They got to watch the physicians and athletic trainers evaluate and treat those injuries. They even got to help do EKGs,” she said

Many of the students who participated were from the ISU’s Exercise Science program, but several others from Faure’s class were students from the Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA) program or the College of Education Teacher Education Program. 

Faure said the experience had something to offer for each of them. 

“While the connection for the students headed towards careers in health care was pretty clear, I think the value of the experience was equally great for our Physical Education teachers. Most of these students also want to be coaches. At the tournament, they learned first-hand about how a medical team operates and how coaches fit into that team approach to treating injuries. They came to understand how important it is for a coach to do things right.  Our students got to see interscholastic sports health care at its highest level and they were able to see a seamless transfer of care,” said Faure. 

ISU Physical Education Teaching major and junior, Alex Cuevass agreed. 


“The experience was eye opening. I want to be a coach someday and I know now that I need to be able to do some of the basic things, like handling blood,” he said.  

Another physical education student who aspires to teach and coach, Kinsey Isham, spoke of an “aha” moment.

“An athlete complained of pain in his knee and said he felt a pop. Bailey (an athletic training student) did some special tests on him, and I knew exactly what she was testing. I was able to talk about what she was doing. In class we just learned about those tests, and it was so cool to see how those tests work in a real situation,” Isham said.  

The first-hand experiences that ISU students are gaining not only inside the classroom, but also assessing and caring for athletes in the real world will prove to be invaluable as these students seek jobs in health care or athletics upon graduation. To learn more about the ISU College of Education’s Human Performance and Sport Studies Department, please visit https://www.isu.edu/hpss/. 



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