Efficiency and a professional work environment were the inspiration behind the purchase of a new collapsible injury tent for the Waxahachie football program.
No, that pop-up tent that fans have seen on the Indians sideline the last two weeks is not just to protect the trainers or injured players from the rain. Though director of sports medicine EJ Hairston did mention he wished "it was more waterproof than what it is" with a laugh when discussing the idea behind the tent ahead of the game Friday at Vernon Newsom Stadium in Mansfield.
The thought to purchase the SidelinER tent came about after Hairston and team physician Dr. Marc Roux sat down to assess situations that occurred last season while attempting to diagnose injured football players during games. Often times, Hairston explained, concerned parents would attempt to question the student-athletes from the stands, which is distracting for both the player and athletic trainer.
"It gives us one-on-one time with that kid, who is not looking into the stands at someone who is asking them what is wrong so that they can focus on what we are trying to do," Hairston said. "It gives us a couple of minutes with the kid not distracted or with us not distracted by what is going on on the field."
He added, "We really need them to allow us to talk to them first so that we can find out what is going on and we can either get them back on the field or figure out what treatment we need to do next as quickly and safely as we can. But, if they are talking to people in the stands, whether it is parents, friends or whatever, they are not paying attention to us. So this will help cut out all of the noise and allow us to get our job done quicker.”
Hairston is in his second year with Waxahachie ISD after spending eight years as an associate athletic trainer and director at the University of North Texas.
It was in Denton when he first learned of the collapsible injury tent, as he recalled the head athletic trainer for the Mean Green was a University of Alabama alumnus, which is where the tent was created.
According to a Sports Illustrated article published June 13, 2016, the development of the medical tent began after at the suggestion of Jeff Allen, director of sports medicine at the University of Alabama.
The SI article explains Allen joined with engineering students in 2015 to design the SidelinER, which has since partnered with Kinematic Sports LLC, a Tuscaloosa-based company. The SI report also notes Allen filed a provisional patent in late July 2016 to "bring this idea to other programs and give some of the students that originally worked on this design a good business opportunity."
The tent was taken to the marketplace later the same year by Kinematic Sports.
According to KinematicSports.com, the University of Alabama was granted a full patent in February.
The website also notes the Sideline ER retails for about $2,000 — a cost that was covered entirely Dr. Roux and Waxahachie Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.
"Dr. Roux deserves a huge thank you," Hairston said on behalf of the Waxahachie ISD sports medicine program. "We owe him a great debt and we are so thankful for what he has done for us."
Hairston explained the tent comes with its own travel bag and folds down flat, so as to not block the view of anyone behind it or get in the way of the natural flow of the sideline. It also takes just a few seconds to raise and set the tent and can fit an examine table, Dr. Roux and an athletic trainer inside when fully erect.
“It is very exciting to have [the tent] as a part of what we are doing," Hairston added. "When I came here, the idea was to make Waxahachie as professional as possible and we have a good staff and everyone has been taken care of, so the tent is just one more thing to help us get to that professional level that I am trying to get to.”