Colorado Academy student-athletes are fortunate to have many supportive adults who help them navigate high school and high school sports, from the college counselors who help families and students identify the perfect match to continue their education and playing careers, to the deans and counselors who adeptly mentor the students from an academic and mental health aspect.
Joining forces with them are Strength & Conditioning Coach Wes Kirk, and the two members of our Sports Medicine team, Assistant Athletic Trainer Jade Callan and Athletic Trainer Dr. Rich Griswold. Together, these experts have developed a consistent routine that keeps our athletes healthy and competing at the top of their game.
Wes Kirk, who is in his third year at CA, collaborates with Callan and Griswold to provide a program of preventative exercise that has resulted in fewer athlete down days. I believe you can draw a connection between the training that head coaches require their athletes do with Kirk and the reduction of injuries over the past two years.
“One reason many athletes have poor routines or don’t see the results they want is that they often jump from one methodology to the next, without giving time for adaptation to occur or reflecting on what did or didn’t work,” says Kirk. “High School athletes need breakfast, sleep, general basic strength preparation, whole foods, and consistency.” Kirk’s ability to oversee so many of the factors that go into an athlete’s success is top of class.
Returning to play after COVID-19 lockdown
At the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, coaches were concerned that student-athletes who had been on COVID-19 lockdown for the previous six months might be susceptible to injury after such a long layoff. Kirk’s specific return-to-play regimen, foundational body weight exercises, and movement-based training have reduced the number of injuries we often saw before he came to CA.
Working together, Kirk and Callan focus on building resilient student-athletes, with mobility, agility, and stretching emphasized over heavy lifting, especially in season. “We’ve seen a reduced number of soft-tissue injuries, compared to previous year’s numbers,” says Callan. “Athletes who are putting in the work with Wes are seeing it pay off because they spend less time on the sidelines due to injury. We are really pleased to have stronger, faster, and, most important, healthier athletes!”
I have observed other schools in Colorado and around the country, and I feel lucky to have the quality professionals like Kirk, Callan, and Griswold, who provide the structure for CA athletes to stay healthy and succeed. The work that the CA student-athletes do in our sports performance and medical facilities is not always glamorous, but it’s essential to long-term health and an ability to compete.