Gregg Dodderidge

When it comes to sports, there’s a team behind the team: doctors and trainers

Oakhurst Physical Therapy owners Tony and Lori McLean receiving a Business of the Year award in 2016. Tony and his staff are part of the team that patrols the sidelines at Badger Stadium during Yosemite High football games helping aid players.
Oakhurst Physical Therapy owners Tony and Lori McLean receiving a Business of the Year award in 2016. Tony and his staff are part of the team that patrols the sidelines at Badger Stadium during Yosemite High football games helping aid players. Sierra Star archive

Football is a dangerous game. As a player, you rarely walk away from a season unscathed. As a parent of a player you worry and pray that your son remains healthy. If an injury occurs at Badger Stadium, players are in good hands. The volunteer teams of physicians, physical therapists and the Badger athletic training staff have formed a great team.

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Dr. Jerry Chastain and Dr. Daniel O’Meara of the Kaiser Permanente Clinic in Oakhurst serve as volunteer team physicians at YHS home games. Chastain and O’Meara are a part of the Kaiser Sports Medicine Program. “Kaiser encourages physicians to reach out and be part of the communities we serve,” O’Meara said. “For us, it’s being out here with the kids and helping the team.” They are part of a larger athletic training staff ready and able to handle most injuries.

O’Meara has been a part of the Badger program since 2005. This is Chastain’s third year. For both it is a labor of love. Chastain is a former football player from Dinuba. He knows the game and still has the passion of a former player. For O’Meara it’s double duty, watching for injuries and seeing his son Ryan on the gridiron. Ryan O’Meara is a starting offensive and defensive lineman for the Badgers. “I am really focused on the kids and injuries,” O’Meara said. “Oh, yeah, I see Ryan, but I’m looking all over the field.”

At home games the staff treats both Badgers and opponents. O’Meara travels to the away games.

This is a team effort. Both Chastain and O’Meara work hand in hand with YHS head athletic trainer Carrie Rumohr and her students. Both doctors keep up to date under the auspices of the American College of Sports Medicine. “We have to earn the right to be here,” O’Meara said. “Keeping up to date with continuing classes keeps us sharp.”

Beyond taking courses Chastain and O’Meara work with and mentor YHS staff on protocols, forms and in-case scenarios. “We also review basic anatomy with students,” Chastain said. “We want them to learn the language and the thought process that go into every diagnosis.”

Along with Chastain and O’Meara you will almost always see Tony McLean, owner of Oakhurst Physical Therapy. McLean and staff see players regularly for longer-term PT. Having the vast experience of McLean on the sidelines is another big plus for the program. Oakhurst Physical Therapy has treated an untold number of players over the years. McLean and his staff are a huge behind-the-scenes community resource who get players back onto the field.

“We feel so blessed to have such incredible support from our volunteer physicians and therapists,” Rumohr. “They have been so great. We are lucky to have them.”

Badgers face Liberty in their league opener

The Badgers return to the North Sequoia League in football after a two-year absence. YHS opens with NSL favorite Liberty-Madera Ranchos. The Badgers will host Liberty on Friday, Sept. 28. JV starts at 5 p.m. and Varsity at 7 p.m. This will be the league opener for both teams.

After a tough loss to McLane two weeks ago, the Badgers had a bye last week in the midst of the most difficult part of their season and hope to rebound against Liberty. It won’t be easy. The Hawks are 4-1 in 2018. Liberty has outscored opponents 219-77, scoring 44 points per game.

Liberty, coached by Mike Nolte, is one of the best small-school programs in the Central Section. The Hawks are currently ranked No. 5 in Division V according to MaxPreps.com. Yosemite is No. 6.

Liberty won three straight section titles from 2012-14 going 40-1 overall in that span. The Hawks were section runners-up in 2011 and have been to the playoffs every year since 2010.

The game will feature two of the top running backs in the Central Section. Yosemite’s Nicholas Harper and Liberty’s Wyatt Roth are tied at 855 yards rushing for the season to lead all Division V rushers. Both are tied for third in rushing yards in the Central Section and are ranked 23rd in California. Roth has scored 15 touchdowns and Harper 10.

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