Worthy joins Merit Health Natchez sports medicine program

Published 12:03 am Sunday, October 18, 2015

NATCHEZ —Merit Health Natchez kicked off a sports medicine program earlier this month, and a major component of the program was the hiring of Fred Worthy, a certified athletic trainer.

Worthy brings 19 years of experience working with student athletes, including teaching, coaching and athletic training.

“This is a service we are proud to offer to our community,” said Eric Robinson,chief executive officer of Merit Health Natchez and Merit Health Natchez — Community Campus.

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“We invited all area coaches and athletic directors to a planning meeting to get a feel for their interest in this service.  Their support and enthusiasm helped us launch a search for a certified athletic trainer to advocate for the health and wellness of student athletes and treat injuries or illness without restricting or inducing patient choice.”

Worthy received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education with an emphasis on health, physical rducation and recreation from Delta State University, and an associate’s degree in athletic administration from Pearl River Community College.

He and his wife, Vicki, along with their two daughters, Katie and Abbey, are coming to Natchez from Hattiesburg, where Worthy worked as a certified athletic trainer for the Hattiesburg Clinic Sports Medicine.

He has professional memberships in the National Athletic Trainers Association, Southeast Athletic Trainers Association and the Mississippi Athletic Trainers Association.

“I have enjoyed getting to know the coaches, athletes and parents and working with orthopedists Dan McCallum, Karl Hubbard and Carl Passman,” said Worthy.  “The Miss-Lou is a great area, and it is an honor to be a part of bringing this new service to Merit Health Natchez and to the community.”

As part of the Sports Medicine Program at Merit Health Natchez, the service offers access to the certified athletic trainer at their games and practices, where Worthy assists with first aid and assessment in the case of injury.  He also maintains health-related documentation, communicates with the coaching staff and provides certain preventive screening tests.

The activities also include wrapping or icing areas before and after games, monitoring the progress of student athletes toward certain health goals, and acting as a liaison between the team physician and the coach.

“As our program grows, we look forward to expanding our coverage to include other area schools,” said Michelle Kaiser, director of therapy services at Merit Health Natchez.

“As the mother of student athletes, I know having a certified athletic trainer on site at not only the school’s games, but also practices, gives parents an extra layer of comfort.”