LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Friday nights in the fall are synonymous with high school football, but after the stadium lights are turned off, some student athletes are left with an unexpected game plan adjustment.
That is why a Saturday sports injury clinic through Lake Charles Memorial Sports Medicine is open during football season, treating injured athletes, band members, and referees.
Injuries are a reality of football season and a conversation between doctor and athlete that is never easy to have:
LaGrange High School sophomore, Damon England, knew he was hurt when took a hard hit Friday night.
"I dropped my head down and took the hit," said England. "When I got up, I just felt my arm just loose and I couldn't feel it."
England came out of the game and was immediately treated by his school's athletic trainer. Next, he was told he would need to be seen by orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Brett Cascio, at the Saturday sports injury clinic to figure out exactly what was going on.
"Kids come to see me once they've been treated by the trainer and they're the walking wounded, essentially, and they come into the clinic," said Dr. Cascio.
The clinic offers highly specialized care for anyone connected to a Friday football injury and lets them avoid the emergency room when that is not the best place for them to be seen.
"It could be football players, band members, cheerleaders, dance line members, referees," said Dr. Cascio.
Barbe High School senior, Austin Lonon, suffered a season-ending injury Friday: an ACL tear that requires a lengthy recovery.
"I'm gonna have my surgery, recover, come back and see how it feels and how I'm playing, if I still have it, and then go from there," said Lonon.
The clinic has a supply room to connect athletes like Lonon to the immediate recovery gear needed, like knee braces, slings, and crutches. There is also an x-ray room to get immediate images of broken bones.
Before the injured leave, the staff has a game plan for the following days.
"We get them treated, we get them arranged for follow-up visits, MRIs, braces, ice, whatever they need and hopefully get them back on the field as soon as possible," said Dr. Cascio.
The Saturday sports clinic has been treating patients for decades inside the main campus of Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. This year, the clinic is held in the brand new Memorial Urgent Care building on Nelson Road.
"We see any athlete, any kid, any person that needs to be seen for these types of musculoskeletal injuries," said Dr. Cascio. "It doesn't matter what parish."
Giving next-day access to specialized sports medicine and orthopedic care.
The Saturday sports injury clinic starts seeing patients at 8:00 A.M. and wraps up around 10:00 A,M. It runs every Saturday during football season at Memorial Urgent Care on Nelson Road.
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