The Center Foundation

The Problem

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Stuart Schmidt oversees a staff of athletic trainers that serves more than 5,000 high school athletes each year in the Bend, Oregon area. As with many programs across the country, staffing athletic trainers is becoming an increasingly pressing issue. “Right now we’re all working as a team to fill in the gaps and make sure every event gets covered,” said Schmidt. “Our athletic trainers provide coverage for all of the schools that The Center Foundation serves, so we’re doing a split approach between our staff so every school gets coverage.” 

Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS
Athletic Trainer Supervisor
Education History
Oregon State University

Switching to Sway

To help ease the burden on staff members, Schmidt made the decision to begin using Sway for the school baseline tests. “As far as ease of administration, Sway is great because we have the flexibility to use a cell phone. All we need is an open space with good connectivity. It’s made it much easier to administer baseline tests.” With his staff, Schmidt was able to easily complete around 600 baseline tests for the Fall sports season. “I liked the ability to not be limited by the need to find computer space and computer labs while still being in full control of our baseline testing process,” noted Schmidt. “As long as the students have the app downloaded in advance on their phone - we’re prepared. It’s seamless and easy, and I never run into the issue of having to reserve computer labs and take up that valuable time.”

Saving Time

Being cognizant of every athletic trainer on Schmidt’s staff was important to factor in when making the decision to switch to Sway. “We send out a letter to coaches with the information about the athletes downloading the app ahead of time. The coaches disseminate the information and most of the time, 90% of the students show up ready to go, which is awesome.” Schmidt also includes information on the Sway registration process during sports registration events, as well as consent to treat forms and a statement about concussions. “When we’re at the parent meetings, we talk about Sway with the athletes and their families as well, including how to download the app early.” 

Switching to Sway is helping Schmidt’s staff save time on the sideline as well. “When we do the sideline assessment, we are able to administer Sway quickly on the sideline. We used to use the SCAT 5 on paper for our assessment, but now we fully are using Sway,” explained Schmidt. “We like it because it allows us to do a much quicker snapshot of what’s going on - and we get it done a lot quicker so we can utilize it for our return-to-play decisions in the moment during the game. Later on, we can do our more intensive evaluations.” 

Physician Buy-in

The staff at the Center Foundation all work closely together with their team physicians. Covering more than one school means that communication about athletes has to be efficient. “I like how the reports are color-coded to note changes. It’s been beneficial because it’s right there - front and center,” said Schmidt. “Being able to do symptoms-only to track kids and see trends over time has been good. We ask the athletes to track on a daily basis when we’re monitoring them. As a multidisciplinary team, the physicians manage the academic accommodations that students may need, and the school nurse will communicate information to the school faculty. We developed that kind of protocol amongst everybody, and every school has a team consisting of the athletic trainer, school nurse, athletic director, and school counselor. When an injury happens, it gets communicated to the entire team and the information is disseminated out from there.” 

Continued Success

The Sway implementation with The Center Foundation staff continues to be a smooth process. Schmidt noted, “All the feedback this year has been so positive. We now have an athletic trainer working in the clinic with one of our physicians and now she’s there to help facilitate the implementation even more.”