Did you know March is National Athletic Training Month? While Mount Nittany Health is known for its five star hospital, primary care physicians, and various medical specialties, we also provide comprehensive athletic training support to our local school districts. During March, athletic trainers everywhere are being recognized for their commitment to injury prevention and healthy communities.
Mount Nittany Health has a team of athletic trainers that provide high quality, onsite care to local athletes. Athletic trainers act every day to reduce the risk of injury for the athletes they serve, but should an injury occur, they immediately assess, treat, and refer injuries for specialized care. After an injury, athletic trainers help rehabilitate athletes and get them back to the sport, work, and life that they love. Athletic trainers impact health care through intentional, patient centered, compassionate action.
Away from the playing field, athletic trainers work closely with Mount Nittany Health Sports Medicine physicians and Mount Nittany Health’s Fit for Play to provide collaborative, personalized care plans. Ultimately, the key to treating sports injuries is avoiding them. Anyone playing sports should follow these sports rules:
- Before participating, see your physician for a physical exam
- Always make sure there is an emergency plan in place
- During exercise, drink to thirst or based on individual needs depending on perspiration rates
- Do not use tobacco, alcohol, or other harmful drugs
- Have access to an athletic trainer
One area of concern in high school sports is concussions. The overall number of high school sports injuries has declined over time. Still, the total number of concussions has grown by 87%. Athletes can sustain concussions in any sport. Some high impact sports, like football, account for a more significant proportion of current concussion rates than others. Still, soccer, baseball, softball, and volleyball all have concussion risks. These risks increase during competition when players play harder than they do during practice.
Mount Nittany Health offers Concussion Protocol Program
Athletic trainers are also critical in identifying and caring for athletes with concussions or other injuries. Mount Nittany Health provides a detailed concussion protocol for student athletes that streamlines the treatment process to ensure a safe and timely return to play.
High school coaches and athletes have become more aware of the seriousness of concussions and proactively work to prevent them. Coaches have minimized the instances where athletes are likely to be concussed. These include low-impact drills, half-speed practices, and teaching athletes to roll properly when tripped or not to lead with their heads when tackling, for example.
Sports are ingrained in our local culture. Athletic Trainers play a critical role in preventing, assessing, and treating sports injuries. Before you get sidelined with an injury, make sure you consult with an athletic trainer.
Mount Nittany Health offers sports medicine at two locations – in State College and Spring Mills. If you or your student-athlete needs a sports medicine orthopedic provider, contact Mount Nittany Health Orthopedics at 814.237.4321 or visit mountnittany.org/orthopedics.
Get to know Mount Nittany Health's team of dedicated athletic trainers:
Ryan Knight, MS, LAT, ATC
Ryan Knight is a certified athletic
trainer with extensive experience in sports medicine. Ryan earned his
bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Liberty University and his master’s
degree in Sport Psychology from Lock Haven University.
According to Ryan,
"Athletics and a desire to serve young athletes in the community has
always been the driving force behind my passion for the athletic training
Ryan began his athletic
training career as a graduate assistant at Bald Eagle Area High school for two
years. He was most recently the head athletic trainer at Bellefonte Area High
School for the last six years.
Currently, Ryan serves as the
Senior Athletic Trainer for Mount Nittany Health and oversees the relationship
between Mount Nittany Health and State College Area School District.
In his current role, Ryan's
primary sports coverages are JV/V football, girls basketball, and boys JV/V
lacrosse. He is responsible for developing and implementing injury prevention
programs, conducting pre-participation physical examinations, and providing
medical coverage for all athletic events. He also works closely with coaches,
parents, and physicians to ensure athletes receive the best care.
"I get the most fulfillment
out of my job with Mount Nittany Health and the school district when I get the
opportunity to rehabilitate an athlete from a significant injury and return
them back to the things they love doing the most," Ryan said.
He is a member of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) and the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers' Society (PATS).
Daniel Chase, MS, LAT, ATC
Daniel Chase is the newest
member to Mount Nittany Health’s team of certified athletic trainers. He has
more than two decades of experience in sports medicine.
Daniel's professional career
began at Penns Valley Area School District after earning his master’s degree in
Human Performance from Frostburg State University. Daniel also holds a bachelor’s
degree in Sports Medicine: Athletic Training from Mercyhust University.
After serving as an athletic
trainer for over a decade at Penns Valley Area School District, he transitioned
to Huntingdon Area High School, where he worked for twelve years. Currently,
Daniel serves as a staff athletic trainer with Mount Nittany Health and State
College Area School District.
Daniel's primary sports
coverages in his current role are JV/V boys and girls cross country, V/JV girls
volleyball, varsity boys and girls golf, V/JH wrestling, V/JH boys and girls track
For Daniel, building strong
relationships with his athletes is essential to providing quality care,
"Mount Nittany Health’s mission of Healthier People, Stronger Community drew
me to my current position. I always have been passionate about forging strong
relationships with those I provide care for," he said.
Daniel's dedication to his
profession is evident in his approach to treating injured athletes.
"Building trust with
athletes and working with them to overcome injuries and obstacles is the
ultimate satisfaction in our profession," Daniel said.
Daniel is a member of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) and a member of the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers' Society (PATS).
Lauren Damiano, MS, LAT, ATC
Lauren Damiano is a dedicated
athletic trainer who has been making a difference in State College Area School
District student athletes' lives.
With a Bachelor of Science
degree in Health Science, with a concentration in Pre-Physical Therapy and
Psychology from Lock Haven University, Lauren has always been interested in
working with athletes to help them overcome physical and mental obstacles.
"Through the physical
and mental stressors and barriers that come along with injuries, athletic
trainers are there to help with it all. I became an AT for that purpose -- to
be that support system for the athletes, to be their advocate," Lauren
Lauren's primary focus is
working with athletes from JV/V girls and boys soccer, Park Forest MS Soccer,
JV/V girls and boys tennis, the indoor track and field team, and JV/V softball and
She takes great pride in
providing the support and advocacy the student-athletes need to overcome
injuries and return to doing what they love most.
"Athletic training is a profession unlike any other. Athletic trainers have the ability to help an athlete from the moment the injury happens on the field, through potential surgery and rehabilitation, to when they finally return to their sport."
Maeve McFeely, MS, LAT, ATC
Maeve McFeely is a is a
dedicated athletic trainer who has been making a difference in State College
Area School District student athletes' lives.
With a Bachelor of Science in
Athletic Training from The Pennsylvania State University and a Master of
Science in Athletic Training from Ohio University, Maeve is well-equipped with
the knowledge and skills to help athletes overcome injuries and achieve their
Maeve began her athletic
training career as the Head Athletic Trainer at Eastern High School in
Reedsville, Ohio. Maeve then transitioned to working as an athletic trainer with
the State College Area School District and Mount Nittany Health in 2023.
Maeve works closely with
student-athletes in different sports, including JH football, JV/V field hockey,
9th/JV/V boys basketball, Mount Nittany MS basketball, JV/V girls lacrosse,
JV/V boys volleyball, and JH field hockey.
"Athletic training provides me with the great opportunity to help student-athletes through injuries and different obstacles in their athletic careers. It is amazing to see them push through those obstacles and succeed," Maeve said.