Beth and Tommy Mallon have a story to tell; it’s a story they hope will help protect youth athletes across the nation. The mother-son duo has launched Advocates for Injured Athletes based out of San Diego, California. Their goal: have a certified athletic trainer at every high school in America.
Tommy was a high school lacrosse player going for a ball when he and an opponent collided in a seemingly simple collision that would change lives permanently. Luckily for Tommy, the certified athletic trainer present at the event would not allow Tommy to get up. Riki Kirchhoff, ATC quickly and accurately assessed the situation and determined that Tommy had suffered a serious injury to his neck.
Here is a part of a post made on Tommy’s blog the day after the injury:
As many of you know already, Tommy broke his neck (in a lacrosse game yesterday) and is in the ICU where he is in the process being stabilized. Tommy broke his neck at C-1, the very first vertebrae where the skull and the spine connect. We were very fortunate that Rikki (our trainer) was on hand at the game to prevent what most commonly happens in such injuries, spinal cord damage – our heart felt thanks to Rikki for her professionalism and smarts to do what was best for Tommy. Also, Dr. Wardrip who fully supported Rikki with her decisions on the field and then riding to the hospital with Beth and the Paramedics, and helping us navigate a frightening time.
Right now, thankfully, Tommy has feeling and motion in his body but is in significant pain and as I said earlier, in the ICU where he will be for at least the next several days where he is trying to rest and resolve a problem that resulted from the break – the break is pressing an artery that supplies blood to the brain. Hopefully, in a few days we should know more what lays ahead but for now, we take it just one day at a time.
It has been nearly two years since the injury and the fight continues on, Tommy was recently on local TV speaking about concussions. The website has a wealth of information about the organization and I encourage you all to visit and support them. Every athlete deserves the care that Tommy received that day and that is their goal.
That is also my goal and one that we have strived to advocate for here.
Every athlete deserves an athletic trainer.