San Benito High seniors Kelcy and Kelly Salvatera competed in this year’s AACI National High School Sports Medicine Competition that was held virtually for the first time. The students had to compete from their home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the pressure was still there despite not having a crowd present.
“For me it was more nerve racking than being tested in person,” Kelcy said.
Kelcy and Kelly, who are the co-presidents of the Sports Medicine Club, along with classmates Rigo Morin and Iana Padilla placed in the top 50 students.
“I was shocked,” Kelly said. “At first I couldn’t believe it because I didn’t get the chance to study as much.”
The top 50 students went on to participate in the practical exams. Kelcy said she was also surprised to make it that far.
“I guess I was just lacking the confidence,” she said. “Last year I had a tough time too but I think I did better this year because Mrs. [Danielle] Cote did a great job of preparing us for the competitions.”
Danielle Cote is in her sixth year teaching the Sports Medicine I and II classes at San Benito High.
As a team, the local Sports Medicine Club placed sixth in the large school division. The top 10 teams from that round earned the opportunity to compete in the AACI National Sports Medicine Competition earlier this month.
San Benito High has been competing for the past four years and they have qualified for the national competition three of those four years.
This year with the virtual format, San Benito High had 19 students take the multiple choice exam from their home computers. The students took an exam filled with 200 scantron questions and a five-question practical exam.
The students were scheduled to have an Anatomage Challenge to perform anatomy/evaluation techniques for the knee, upper leg to hip and structures crossing the knee joint.
However, due to the virtual exam, that challenge along with several side team and individual mini exams were nixed.
Last year, Kelly and Kelcy both competed at Cal State Northridge so they had a sense of what to expect. Still, Kelly said it was tough for her because they had to study at home and they had a lot to memorize.
“It was kind of confusing but doable,” she said.
This year the students focused on first aid and CPR, emergency procedures, medical terminology, legal issues such as terminology involving malfeasance and negligence and physiology.
Cote said in an email that the classes are meant to teach students injury evaluation, as well as treatment and prevention techniques for the human body. It includes an overview of the anatomy and physiology of the body as well.
“Students also shadow or interview medical professionals to get hands-on experience in the medical field,” she said.
In addition, all students learn the skills needed to be certified in First Aid, CPR and an automated external defibrillator through the American Red Cross where Cote is a certified instructor.
For the current school year, there were 68 students in Sports Medicine I and 26 students in Sports Medicine II.
Cote, who is also the school’s athletic trainer, added the Anatomage Table, which is a virtual dissection table loaded with four 3-D interactive cadavers and thousands of case studies.
Kelcy and Kelly, who moved to the U.S. from the Philippines in 2017, think that signing up for the class helped them prepare for their dream job in the medical field.
Kelcy said most of her family is in the medical field but she remembers also being the one healing wounds for other people.
“When I was little, any time when someone got a cut I just realized that I was really interested in getting that person help and cleaning their wound,” she said. “I just thought it was cool to really help them out.”
Both students are in their third year of taking the sports medicine classes.
Kelly said what she really enjoys most is the hands-on activities and just being able to help Cote by participating in athletic events.
“I love how Mrs. Cote constantly checks up on her students if we need any help in anything,” she said. “I felt really welcomed to the class.”