EMS personnel attended a hands-on training class in treating athletic injuries at the Mineral County Fire Department building.Emergency Medical Services personnel and others attended an Aug. 17 hands-on training class in treating athletic injuries. The Mineral County Fire Department hosted the class in its building.

Certified athletic trainer Dustin Hopfe, of Reno, taught the class. Hopfe is the athletic trainer at Wooster High School.

“Sarah Dillard asked me to come down again. This is my second year.” Hopfe said. He added that small schools, such as Hawthorne, can’t afford the team doctors and trainers that bigger schools in Reno and Las Vegas can, so it pays for coaches and EMS personnel to stay cur-rent on sports injury treatments.

Several high school and youth coaches, including from Tonopah, attended the event as well as students interested in learning sports medicine.

Along with the treatment of various sports injuries, Hopfe managed to dispel a myth or two. For example, the benefit of “deep heat” creams is mostly psycho-logical. The cream is really a topical irritant that overstimulates sensory nerves. This is the “heat” you feel when you rub it in.

Hopfe had a warning for young, aspiring pitchers who want to throw the sweeping curveballs they see on TV. “Their body is not developed well enough to handle the load that throwing a curveball puts on your arm. I see a lot of young kids getting ‘Tommy John’ (elbow ligament) surgery.”

Hopfe also said that many younger athletes tend to specialize in one sport. “They start playing this sport at five or six, and they play all year around, put-ting strain on the same muscles. It’s no wonder they’re breaking down by the time they get to high school.”

The most preventable injuries Hopfe sees in young athletes are muscle injuries. “With the advent of scientific studies and research, we have the information to prevent many muscle injuries through warming up and working out,” Hopfe said.

He added that joints like the knees and elbows depend on muscle strength. “Your muscles help stabilize everything in there.”

Hopfe, who found his career through participating in college athletics, said the job keeps him interested and motivated. “I enjoy what I do. I like to joke I’m getting paid to watch sports.”