NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Highway Patrol is celebrating National Athletic Training month by recognizing Brad Swope for his work with the agency’s Trooper Cadet Classes. Swope, who has volunteered his time and expertise since 2008, has overseen the prevention, diagnosis and rehabilitation of medical conditions for three Trooper Cadet Academies.
A 28-year veteran of the field, Swope serves as the lone caretaker for 44 Trooper Cadets set to graduate in May. He has also acted as the athletic trainer (AT) for Cadet Class 1208 and Cadet Class 311, which graduated in 2008 and 2011, respectively. Overall, Swope has been responsible for the healthcare of over 130 State Troopers.
“We are fortunate to have a knowledgeable and experienced athletic trainer working with our Trooper Cadets,” said Captain Donald Nicholson, who oversees the THP’s Training Center and organizes the cadet schools. “Unfortunately, injuries sometimes do happen during the course of the 18-week training. It helps to have in-house medical personnel who can guide the trooper back to health.”
Swope, originally from Springboro, Ohio, is employed as the full-time athletic trainer for Station Camp High School in Gallatin, Tennessee. There, he is responsible for the care of 400-plus student-athletes. He also held a stint as the Head Athletic Trainer with Sumner Regional Medical Center, where he increased the program from one athletic trainer to 12 athletic trainers in 13 different schools. During which time, he was also responsible for the daily healthcare of Volunteer State Community College student-athletes.
“Often times, State Troopers experience the same kinds of injuries as athletes,” Swope said. “There’s almost an untapped market in law enforcement where many individuals need treatment, but aren’t receiving it as often as they’d like. It’s my job to bring them back to work quicker, safer and a lot happier.”
Swope said that the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), the governing body for certified athletic trainers, has advocated seeing more athletic trainers in the public service sector within the last few years. “We are beginning to see more municipalities hire athletic trainers, and as a result, workman’s compensation claims are decreasing,” he said.
“I’m with my athletes every day,” Swope continued. “Why not have athletic trainers on staff with public safety agencies, especially if it will save money in the long run.”
As National Athletic Training Month comes to a close, this year’s theme of “Athletic Trainers Save Lives,” takes on a new meaning for the long-time AT. “If by preventing or rehabilitating an injury provides a soon-to-be State Trooper with a second chance, I know I’ve done my job,” Swope said. “It’s an honor to take care of those who are taking care of us.”
For more information on the National Athletic Training Month and National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), visit http://www.nata.org/