April 27th, 2012

Hyland's Heroes: Danny McDonald

Block_screenshot 2018-10-06 at 2

Paul Najjar

Senior Writer

Hyland's Heroes: Danny McDonald
photo from kyats.com

Trainer works to ensure athletes get best care possible

The following feature is a part of a weekly series, sponsored by Hyland, Block & Hyland, called "Hyland's Heroes" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic volunteers, coaches and administrators who assist athletic programs and teams, and help promote excellence in all aspects of sports.

Know someone that you think should be featured as the next "Hyland's Hero”? Send your recommendation to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

Support for the huge numbers of young student-athletes who participate in sports offered by the CSAA is not limited to just coaches and officials. This week’s Hyland’s Heroes feature brings a trainer into the mix and discusses how his work supports the CSAA and those student-athletes who play the games.

A product of St. Pius X elementary school and St. Xavier High School (class of ’93), Danny McDonald in 1999 to first assist and then take over the role as head Athletic Trainer and the Director of the Student Trainers Program since 2000. In that span, McDonald has worked with dozens of student trainers and volunteered to be the Trainer at a myriad of CSAA competitions.

McDonald has provided his services for Toy Bowls, track meets, basketball championships and nearly every event the CSAA holds for student-athletes on the fields and courts at St. Xavier and around the city.

“We handle all of the regular things that trainers do, plus work with student-athletes on injury prevention, rehabilitation and treatments for injuries,” said McDonald. “We teach CPR to coaches and help train and develop young students who are interested in becoming student athletic trainers.”

For those St. X students interested in becoming student athletic trainers, McDonald calls on his past as student trainer during his years at the school.

“I was a student trainer and learning about sports medicine is an interest for those who get involved in the program,” he said. “Teaching them by osmosis or apprenticeship is how my assistant R.J. Romero and I work with them. We teach them how we treat and injury, rehab an injury, splint an injury and anything that will help them help us do what we have to do. The kids get great experience with this and have fun doing it, too.”

With a B.A. in Education and a major in Kinesiology, McDonald finished his schooling at UK and began his career at St. X. And in his 13 years at his alma mater, he’s been involved with all aspects of training there and with CSAA events and other events held at the school.

“When we cover those sporting events and games, when someone gets hurt all eyes and ears perk up and people look for someone to help,” McDonald said. “When we get organized for these events at St. X, we make sure we’re in a location where people know that we’re there to give care and attention to any and all medical issues. It is relief for some of the parents and the coaches that are there as well as the CSAA folks who are managing the event, whatever sport it may be. They want it to run as smoothly as possible and I’m happy to provide my services for the kids.”

McDonald played football, basketball and baseball at St. Pius and decided during freshman football tryouts that he’d prefer to support the team rather than play. Something about an aversion to running was what he mentioned when the topic was brought up. And he happily laughed at the memory.

“Working with Bob Hamilton, who was the head trainer at St. X before I was and for whom I was a student trainer, he taught me to always be prepared because injuries can happen to anyone at any time,” said McDonald. “When visitors come to our campus, I feel as much a responsibility to help them as I do our players at St. X. And working with kids and programs in the CSAA, when I get contacted by a coach or a parent about an injury we want to give them the best information we can. We’ll show them how to recover, rehab and try to give them options about the best way to go about getting back to one hundred percent health.”

He mentioned that that fear of the unknown also plays a part in treating injuries, especially with young athletes.

“The main thing about kids that age (in elementary grades) and in high school, when they have injuries they don’t always know what will happen,” he said. “So we try to educate them in order to relieve some of the stress that comes with an injury. We want them to know that there’s a purpose to the treatment and that we’re not just throwing someone in the whirlpool or giving care without an explanation. We’ve had kids come to us with a cast on their arm and tell us that the CSAA won’t allow them to play unless it’s properly padded. So we’ll show them how to do that and help them with some of the supplies. Those young kids are surprised sometimes that they’re still able to perform fairly well even with a cast. Of course, we only do that in situations where a Doctor allows that to happen.”

The CSAA made an impact on McDonald when he was at St. Pius. He remembers when his coaches would tape ankles and try to administer care to players. And like every other youngster, McDonald recalls every Toy Bowl he played for St. Pius, but he also appreciates everything the CSAA represents.

“I played in three Toy Bowls, winning it all in 6th grade and losing in 7th and 8th,” he said. “But that experience was really special. Young kids always have stars in their eyes when they play a Toy Bowl game at St. X or Trinity. The CSAA does a great service for these kids. My son will probably play football for St. Albert this coming fall. And what the coaches teach these young kids is proper technique to help keep them healthy and prevent or reduce injuries. They do a great job of keeping kids safe and providing a safe environment for teams to play.”


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