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“The difference between going home and going to the morgue”: In the medical room at Bballnationals

Certified Athletic Therapist Derick Pariag and First Aid Specialist Kathleen Henderson (left to right).

When you watch a game of basketball, how often do you see a player roll an ankle? Where do they go next? If they’re at a tournament like Bballnationals then its to the first aid room. There they receive the treatment they need to head back the court. Within minutes, a player can be back on the court – and sometimes you may not even notice they were gone.

“We only had one; one person got poked in the eye. That was it,” said Derick Pariag, a Certified Athletic Therapist working for the duration on Bballnationals. “But like I said, it’s the first day.”

Pariag and his partner in the medical room, Kathleen Henderson, a First Aid specialist, are expecting more players to visit them in the coming days of the tournament.

“Oh, yeah,” confirmed Pariag.

“Tired muscles,” said Henderson, alluding to the upcoming days of competition, and what it will do to the athletes along the way.

“Once teams start getting tired, and their body – you know you’re playing what? Maybe 3-4 games in the next amount of days, things start breaking down,” said Pariag.

“If you see an injury happen, you know exactly how to deal with it as opposed to getting [the information] second hand,” said Pariag. for hours at a time, but it also helps with providing the correct treatment to injuries.

“If you see an injury happen, you know exactly how to deal with it as opposed to getting [the information] second hand,” said Pariag.

As much as you hate to see it, injuries – big or small – will happen. At Bballnationals, there may not be anyone who knows that better than those providing treatment, like Pariag.

“Second day, [injuries] start [happening] a little bit more,” said Pariag. “Third day, fourth day, we’re going to be in here it’s going to be swamped, out there it’s going to be swamped because that’s when you’re going to start seeing the injuries.”


“Do you need ice?” asks Pariag.

A group of girls from one of the Victoria-based teams arrives at the door of the medical room where Pariag and Henderson sit.

“Three bags of ice for three Iced Capps,” jokes Pariag as Henderson readies three bags of ice, a small one intended for a pinkie and two bigger ones for knees. Pariag dubs them the “Victoria Hospital Team” and sends them on their way.

“It’s even the small bits – ‘Can you cut this tape off my ankle?’ they’re happy. ‘Can I get some ice?’ They’re happy,” said Henderson, explaining how even the small parts of her role have an impact.

The happiness and gratitude that Henderson felt from the girls who asked for ice can be seen in different ways; Pariag’s received thankful letters from parents. As much work the young athletes put into getting onto the court at Bballnationals, a lot goes on behind the scenes to keep them healthy and on the floor.

“The reason why we are here, is to make sure the kids are safe.”

By: Mohak Sood

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