Injury is always a risk when playing sports. There's no way to prevent that risk, but for the past four years the Billings Clinic has done everything they can to put athletes, particularly female athletes, ahead of the curve.
"Whenever you talk about injuries with females, it's always the ACL. We focus a lot on technique, and just kind of learning how to workout, kind of getting our work capacity up" said West High strength and conditioning coach Mark Johnston. "But it's been very successful. We've seen injury rates go down, and hopefully that continues."
Due to female athlete's frames they are more likely to suffer an ACL tear than a male. That was the unfortunate reality for several West High athletes last school year. Which is why the Billings Clinic is putting a particular emphasis on ACL tear prevention, and that kind of attention doesn't go unnoticed.
"We're really fortunate to have that, and to have people who care whether you hurt yourself or not, and just kind of focus on you," said West High junior Abi Redler.
"If you do something that you're not ready to do, it hurts you," said West High sophomore Mariah Ketterling. "And so they'll be like, 'Maybe we should try doing something different, to prevent this injury from happening to you. Because from what you're doing I see that happening to you in the future.'"
The idea behind the workouts is to not only prepare athletes for their seasons, but to strengthen particular muscle groups to reduce their risk of injury, and in it's fourth year, is already successful.
"The common ones are the quadricep pull, or even the hamstring pull, which used to be quite common around here," said Johnston. "But we've seen those almost go away completely."
"I'm really thankful for it," said Redler. "It's helped me a lot. Just thankful for everyone here."
While we all like to see the buzzer beaters, and the big hits, if it wasn't for the work of the Billings Clinic, those plays, may not be possible.