RMC’s move al­ready pay­ing off

The Covington News - - Sports - SPORTS ED­I­TOR BRYAN FAZIO

New­ton’s big loss aside, Thurs­day and Fri­day night’s open­ing football games seemed to go off with­out a hitch in New­ton County.

The play was, first, ex­cit­ing as Al­covy lost in a close but turnover-filled con­test Thurs­day, and then be­came dom­i­nat­ing in East­side’s 32-0 rout of New­ton Fri­day.

There wasn’t an uptick in po­lice calls af­ter ei­ther game, and both teams are pretty much in­tact de­spite a few in­juries, mak­ing a suc­cess­ful Fri­day Night Lights.

Speak­ing of those in­juries, while no one wants any­one to get hurt to the point where they miss games, they also went a lot smoother.

Thurs­day night was the first time each school had a med­i­cal trainer on hand thanks to a part­ner­ship be­tween New­ton Med­i­cal Cen­ter and the New­ton County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion.

That part­ner­ship was a pos­i­tive as ev­i­dent by many fac­tors stem­ming from both games at Sharp Sta­dium.

When the first gamestop­ping in­jury of the sea­son came up dur­ing Al­covy and Jones County’s game on Thurs­day night, the mat­ter was tended to quickly and a sim­ple di­ag­no­sis was given on site.

Nor­mally, the coaches would run on the field and, in this case, Al­covy coach Kirk Hoffman would be left to help the player learn what he was suf­fer­ing.

But on Thurs­day night, Hoffman could tend to his team, not only work­ing on con­tin­u­ing to scheme and plan against Jones County but also serv­ing as a re­as­sur­ing pres­ence.

While their team­mate was lay­ing on the field with his ca­reer un­cer­tain, the Tigers could main­tain a greater sense of calm as Hoffman re­mained nearby while Dr. Re­nee Ri­ley and the Tigers’ staff could at­tend to the fallen player.

Ri­ley not only made it eas­ier for the injured but also Hoffman, who was grate­ful to have the or­tho­pe­dic doc­tor on the side­lines.

Hoffman wasn’t the only one to ap­pre­ci­ate the ad­di­tion of Dr. Ri­ley and her team, as all those who are in­volved with New­ton, Al­covy and East­side football do as well.

“It is a great bless­ing to have Dr. Ri­ley and her staff at our games and work­ing closely with our pro­gram,” New­ton coach Cortez Allen said. “She has been work­ing with our kids for about three weeks now and I know our par­ents are thank­ful and so am I.”

While all three teams have been work­ing hard since last sea­son con­cluded, the big­gest im­prove­ment may have come off the field. When the NMC broached the board of ed­u­ca­tion about hav­ing a trainer with each team, it paved the way for a more se­cure football sea­son by the area’s coaches, play­ers and par­ents.

Just one game in, those ef­forts have al­ready paid off.

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