Tonganoxie High earns national recognition for athletic training work
Trainer Padfield, former AD Parker praised for efforts
U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins knows all too well the world of sports injuries.
The Republican legislator said she’s spent some quality time in hospitals with her son, Hayden Jenkins, who has suffered multiple concussion injuries on the football field.
Hayden Jenkins continues to play football at Baker University and, like any parent, Jenkins worries about her son’s safety on the playing field.
But, she said professionals such as Tonganoxie High School athletic trainer Mark Padfield help her and other sports mothers to sleep better at night knowing their student-athletes are in good care.
Jenkins presented Padfield with the Safe Sports School First Team award through the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.
THS also received a banner denoting its distinction as a first-team school.
First-team awards are given to schools that have all recommended and required elements of a safe sports school.
Second-team awards go to schools that have completed only required elements.
Tonganoxie is just one of a handful of Kansas schools to have the first-team distinction.
Padfield stressed that the award represents the work of several people.
“This isn’t an award for me,” Padfield said. “It’s for the district.”
Padfield, who also is an at-risk teacher at the high school, praised former athletics director Brandon Parker for being instrumental in getting athletic training services for THS student-athletes.
He said there was a time when training services were split between Basehor-Linwood and THS, but Parker worked hard to ensure Tonganoxie had its own trainer, Padfield said. The district contracts through OrthoKansas of Lawrence for Padfield’s training services.
Parker, who continues to teach and coach in the district, stepped down as athletics director earlier this summer after 12 years in the position.
Joining Padfield and Jenkins at the ceremony last week at the THS gymnasium were THS principal Mark Farrar, USD 464 Superintendent Lyn Rantz and school board president Dan Hopkins. Several THS coaches and student-athletes also were on hand for the ceremony.
Farrar introduced Padfield at the event, noting that he competed in throwing events for the Kansas State University track and field team. While there, Padfield had the Big 12 Conference record in the shot put — because the top two throwers scratched on their attempts, Farrar said.
Though he joked about Padfield, he went on to tell of Padfield’s many contributions to the Tonganoxie community and his commitment to students.
“He was so involved with students on and off the field that he even found himself directing the school play,” Farrar said, referring to Padfield’s time at Osage City.
Padfield was named the 2011 Gatorade Secondary School Athletic Trainer of the Year for District 5, which covers Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota.
He also helped to write the Kansas State Department of Education’s competencies for three courses in sports medicine and athlete care as part of health science curriculum.
Farrar thanked Padfield’s family for allowing the district to “monopolize so much of his time every day.”
The principal also praised Parker.
“He demonstrated a great vision for the importance of what a quality athletic training program can do for a high school.”