Eastern Senior High School, one of the oldest high schools in the District, was in for a treat last week.
"I'm just astonished and amazed," said athletics and activities coordinator Ronald Nelson.
The Washington Football Team chose Eastern Senior High School as the recipient of the 2021 High School Initiative in the form of $2,000 in athletic training supplies and equipment from Medco Sports Medicine as part of a partnership with Cramer Sports Medicine and the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society, helping ensure that the high school's student-athletes have access to essential supplies and equipment.
"It helps us out with one less thing we have to worry about," Nelson said. "It helps us out tremendously."
Eastern Senior High School was one of four high schools in the country to receive the supply of athletic training equipment from Medco. Each year, four NFL teams are chosen to pick one school in their area. For Ryan Vermillion, Washington's Director of Sports Medicine and Head Athletic Trainers, it was an easy decision to make.
Vermillion grew up in the DMV; in fact, his childhood home is just a few blocks down from the high school itself. His father even went to school at Eastern and graduated as part of the class of 1948. But more importantly, it was a school in need, and that made choosing Eastern "a no-brainer."
"We want to make sure we get athletic training out there in the sports world," Vermillion said. "Every high school should have an athletic trainer covering their events. And on top of those worst case scenarios, if those happen, you want someone there who's been trained to deal with those worst case scenarios."
Vermillion, in addition to members of his staff and Medco representatives, helped present the check to Nelson, principal Sah Brown, Deputy Director of Athletics Michael Bryant, physical education teacher Khalid Shakur and head athletic trainer Dawn Bracley. Vermillion also told them to reach out to him if they needed anything else, which Bracley, entering her 31st year with the school, said will be "huge."
"It's hard for some of my students to get physical therapy," Bracley said. "And if I struggle with finding the right rehab program for them, I know I can reach out to him."
Vermillion stressed how important it was for athletic trainers and NFL teams to give back to society and the local community. Medco agrees, which is why they view community outreach as a key initiative to support young student-athletes as they play their favorite sports in as safe an environment as possible.
"As the leading manufacturer and distributor in sports medicine, Medco is dedicated to giving back to local NFL communities in partnership with the PFATS membership," said Mike Finke, Medco General Manager. "Through the High School Initiative, we can help schools get the tools they need to keep our country's young athletes healthy."