The Interscholastic Athletic Advisory Committee had asked the Board of Education for an additional $50,000 for athletic trainers, though county athletic supervisor Don Disney thought it would take even more to make sure that the program would continue.
"There is no extra money. It stays at $100,000," or $10,000 for each high school, Disney said last week. "I think we need quite a bit more" to fund the program.
The $100,000 does not pay the whole price tag for trainers, who are at the schools every day for both practices and games. The companies providing the trainers had hoped to make up the difference in referrals, but a shortage of trainers and the increasing cost of benefits those trainers are demanding has put a severe financial cramp in that plan.
Every coach I've talked to has a story to tell about how trainers have helped prevent injuries and have diagnosed injuries that go far beyond what coaches learns in the basic first-aid course they are required to take. More important, trainers are on hand when a serious injury occurs.
I guess the ball is in the hands of the health providers now. They will have to decide if they can continue to lose money on the deal, if they will scale back the program drastically, or if they will just bail out.
Swimming for the health of it
Vince Marando had a bout with polio when he was 13 months old, but that never slowed him down.
Marando, who lost some muscle in one of his legs as a result of the polio, took home two medals from the Maryland State Masters Competition held at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County Feb. 24 and 25.
The Columbia resident placed second in the 200-yard backstroke (3:28.71) and was third in the 200-yard freestyle (3:11.78) in the 60-64 age group.
"He practices on his own and goes into these meets and wins _ and he's 62 years old!" proud wife Pat Marando said.
Marando took up swimming as a youngster because it was exercise therapy for polio.
"The medals I win now are just as important as the ribbons I'd get 50 years ago [at meets for children]," said Marando, who stays in peak physical shape by swimming a mile every day at the Columbia Swim Center. "Now I can show my grandkids that someone 62 can go after medals as well."
A couple of other county residents in their prime also did well at the meet _ Doris Russell won five gold medals in the 80-84 age division, and Carl Christensen, who is in Marando's age group, earned two gold medals and four silvers.
A fitting tribute
When I attend a football game at Atholton, it just isn't the same anymore. Someone's missing.
I'm talking about Paul Pfister Sr., who died about a year ago. I just expect to see him running up and down the sidelines with his clipboard and pencil as he keeps statistics.
Atholton has decided to honor Paul by scheduling a golf tournament at Fairway Hills on April 11.
The proceeds will support a scholarship fund in his name and an award to an Atholton High School senior. I recommend that the youngster who gets this award be someone with the same qualities as Paul, who was dedicated to doing the best possible job regardless of the task. That way it would be a fitting tribute to this man.
Contact Don Van Deusen (410-313-7114 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to sponsor a hole, sign up for the outing or make a donation to the scholarship fund.
E-mail Stan Ber at HowardCountySports@patuxent.com.