Eli Sharp finally got his shot to start at quarterback the third game of his sophomore season at Central High School. As he was running the ball late in the second half, he took a hit to his lower left leg. An x-ray at KOC’s Saturday morning sports injury clinic showed a fractured fibula.
“Eli still went to practice every day in his walking cast,” said his father, Tom Sharp. “And every day, Mickey helped him get back to where he wanted to be.”
Mickey Brown is Central’s certified athletic trainer, provided by Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic. His job is to help keep students in all sports safe, treat injuries, and guide rehabilitation. Mickey has 24 years of experience working with young athletes.
“Having someone with that kind of knowledge there on a daily basis was a huge part of what kept Eli on track,” his father said. “Mickey was also at every doctor’s visit with us, and his constant communication with the specialists at KOC made sure everyone was on the same page.”
For more than a decade, Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic has invested in a sports medicine outreach program that provides year-round certified athletic trainers at Knox County high schools and doctors on the sidelines at football games. Dr. Amber Luhn was able to examine Eli on the field when he broke his leg, and Dr. Matthew Rappé saw him in the office the next day.
“High school students are truly enriched by participating in athletics,” said Dr. Rappé, a KOC sports medicine surgeon. “Unfortunately injuries do occur to these athletes. As a clinic, we’re proud to provide certified athletic trainers as a service to our community to ensure these athletes return safely after injury and continue to meet their goals on the field, court, or diamond.”
It’s reassuring for coaches, as well as parents, to have a healthcare professional treating their players at school, during practice, and on game days.
“Mickey is unbelievable at what he does,” said Central football coach Bryson Rosser. “He’s so patient with the kids. There’s nothing he hasn’t seen. He always has a plan of action and I never have to doubt what he’s telling me.”
Eli Sharp made it back for the end of his sophomore season. But during a play-off game, he broke a bone in his right foot. Mickey, along with Dr. Benson Scott and Dr. Joshua Johnson, were on the sidelines then as well. That injury required six weeks in a cast followed by two weeks in a boot. But once again Eli fought through his recovery and was cleared to join his team for off-season workouts.
“He’s a hard worker, very dedicated,” Mickey said. “I can’t wait to see what he can do on the field as a junior.”