Clearfield School Board Delays Action on Changing Athletic Training Services

CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield school board will continue mulling over a proposed change in its athletic training services.

On Monday night, the administration presented its recommendation to use Penn Highlands, beginning July 1, and to terminate its current agreement with Drayer Physical Therapy as per the contracted terms.

Superintendent Terry Struble made it very clear that Drayer hadn’t done anything wrong, and this recommendation arose from the belief that Penn Highlands could bring services to the district that aren’t available through Drayer.

Board member Tim Morgan indicated the contract agreement with Drayer offers a “60-day out,” and he asked if similar language was in the proposed agreement with Penn Highlands.

The solicitor said he didn’t know because he hadn’t reviewed the contract; he suggested if this was a major concern, any motion be contingent upon his final approval.

Board member Gail Ralston asked if the district was in need of athletic training services during the month of June. Struble said potentially yes, potentially no depending on how far the baseball and softball teams advance.

He said in July fall athletes begin to pick up their physical forms and sports teams start to build their rosters in preparation for camps to open in August.

Morgan said under the current contract, Drayer would still be on board for at least 60 days after given notice of its termination, which Struble confirmed was correct.

Ralston said if the student-athletes would have coverage in June, the board should give itself more time to deliberate the proposed change. The board then voted, 8-1, to table action on this item.

Earlier in the meeting during public comment, Greg Shedd, regional athletic training coordinator for Drayer Physical Therapy, said he was “certainly surprised” to have to defend the company after its 20 years of service in the Clearfield community.

In the fall after the previous athletic trainer resigned, he said Drayer hired a new athletic trainer, and he was mutually agreed upon between Drayer and the district’s administration.

A few weeks later, it was made clear to Drayer that the district wanted to make a change. He said Drayer met with Struble and Principal Tim Janocko and actually made the change that day.

Shedd said he covered two junior high football games that same afternoon, and continued to drive from his home in Holidaysburg regularly for the next few months to ensure consistency and quality in Clearfield’s athletic training program.

At the beginning of winter, he said Drayer hired another athletic trainer who’s actually overqualified for any athletic training position and who will be moving on to pursue medical school after this year.

“Knowing of this decision in advance, a few months ago, we made the decision to bring Tierra Shope from her current position as an athletic trainer with a different school to Clearfield,” Shedd said.

“… I outlined that plan to Mr. Janocko and some of your athletic administration.” He noted Shope is a Curwensville native who intends to make her home here and to remain in this area for the rest of her life.

Shedd pointed out that consistency is very important to the Clearfield community, and it’s also a high priority for Drayer.  “Tierra was actually requested by the administration at the meeting with Mr. Struble and Mr. Janocko.”

He asked the district to remember that Drayer is an independent company and prides itself on patient care and the ability it gives you to choose your provider.

“… Athletic training is what we do,” Shedd said. “We have 300 athletic trainers on staff in our company, and I supervise over 25 athletic trainers in this region alone.

“The benefit of that is that we can ensure your student-athletes will never go without the coverage and the care they need.”

He said Drayer is proud to serve and to have served the Clearfield community, and would love to moving forward. If given the opportunity, Shedd said he’d continue to be present and invested in Shope, the student-athletes and the community.

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