Claremore-Area Doctor Stresses Importance Of Clinics To Treat Athletes

Sunday, September 20th 2015, 12:06 am
By: News On 6

Wesleyan Christian School in Bartlesville is mourning the death of its high school football captain today after he succumbed to a brain injury.

Junior linebacker Ben Hamm took what seemed to be a run-of-the-mill hit last week, but things went wrong.

Hamm was rushed to the hospital with bleeding in his brain and putting him in a coma.

The school posted on its Facebook page that Hamm died Saturday morning.

9/19/2015 Related Story: Wesleyan Christian High School Player Dies After Head Injury

We spoke with Wesleyan Christian Athletic Director Casey Parham earlier in the week about how the accident has affected the school.

"We are doing our very best to educate and train our team our coaches how to handle that kind of collision sport, how to recognize those symptoms when it comes to those sports."

A local doctor runs a clinic Saturday mornings to help treat players who get injured on Friday nights.

Football can be a dangerous sport, with head injuries many times the most concerning.

"Everybody gets hurt at some point," said Dr. Steve Hardage, who has run the Eastern Oklahoma Orthopedic Center in Claremore for 11 years and has been treating sports injuries for years.

In the fall, most of those injuries come from football.

“Anywhere from concussions, shoulder injuries to knee injuries to ACL tears to ankle sprains, all kinds of injuries," he said.

Clayton Downum plays outside linebacker for Oologah and buckled his knee in Friday night's game, and if it weren't for the clinic, he'd be waiting until Monday for treatment. It was an MRI that could help him get the right care faster.

And Hardage says that's the whole point of the clinic.

"Coaches are always anxious to know what's going on with the kids, parents are anxious to know what's going on with the kids, and so it’s always helpful to get them in on Saturday mornings, get them evaluated and get things started and get them evaluated and hopefully get them back on the field as quickly as possible,” Hardage said.

It’s something players like Clayton say they appreciate.

"Makes me feel like they care and just want to help out,” he said.