Author Archives: Maria Allocco

Would Hiring a Strength Coach at Piedmont Decline Injuries??

DEMOREST, GEORGIA — Three Piedmont College students think they have uncovered the secret to preventing sports injuries. 

“According to the research we found when comparing Piedmont to other NCAA DIII sports, it was intriguing to find that if a strength coach is hired, athletes’ injuries would go down drastically in contact sports,” said student Geeth Mahagamage. “A certified trainer motivates and pushes athletes in the weight room, unlike a head coach.”

Working with Professor Susanna Warnock, Mahagamage and fellow students Maggie Moody and Julia Nichols presented their session, “Using Data Science to Understand and Prevent Sports Injuries” at the 2020 Piedmont Symposium. The students used their speech to relate Piedmont sports injuries to other colleges in the division. Some data that was collected showed that student-athletes at Piedmont had a lower injury rate in non-contact sports when compared to other DIII institutions. However, when expressing their concern on contact sports they realized Piedmont athletes are at a higher risk across the board when compared to the NCAA injury rate and the NCAA DIII injury rate. 

“Tear injuries are the most common type of injuries athletes see at Piedmont when playing a contact sport, so I believe hiring a trainer would help reduce that amount of injuries the athletes see,” said Moody, herself a student-athlete in tennis.

Not only does it make sense for the physical welfare of athletes, but a strength coach makes fiscal sense, Nichols said.

“Reducing injuries saves any college and athletes financially so why not hire a strength coach? The amount of money to hire a coach isn’t near the amount it costs Piedmont with athletes’ injuries,” said Nichols, a member of the cycling team.

The National Safety Council estimates that injuries cost roughly $9,000 per injury and with Piedmont having over 428 injuries per year it is costing the college roughly $3.8 million. The amount of time 428 athletes are in physical therapy is over 18,000 days. “Imagine if Piedmont’s athletes could get that time back and focus on improving their skills,” said Nichols.  

The results sparked an interest among the presentation viewers. Although he supports the idea of adding a strength and conditioning coach, Matt McKinney, head athletic trainer at the school, doesn’t want people to think that it is a quick solution to the problem.

 “At the end of the day it’s an athletes’ job to be disciplined to stretch and stay in shape working out, a strength coach telling an athlete is not any different from an athletic trainer telling them,” McKinney said.

Warnock said she was proud of her students’ research, and thinks it is something that Piedmont can use in future planning.

“However much money is needed into preventing injuries is well worth it because the cost of injuries is overwhelming,” Warnock said. “I am really satisfied with how our students found something applicable to the athletic trainer.”

Georgia State Patrol wasn’t enough for Chief Jim

DEMOREST GA— Chief Jim Andrews is hoping to break stereotypes of police officers.

“Officers get a title of all they want to do is write tickets and lock up everyone that passes their path, but for me it’s the lifelong lessons and connections that make the job well worth it when you lay your head on your pillow at night,” said Andrews. For nearly three decades, Andrews has been making those connections.

He started his career working at a prison then vastly earned his way up to a K-9 handler, which then led to bigger and better opportunities in his career. In 1993, he joined GSP (Georgia State Patrol) as a radio operator and took that challenge on for roughly a year. Shortly after in 1994, he went to Trooper School and worked his way up quickly in rankings to a Buck Sargent. In 2010, he was given the opportunity to work with Gov.Nathan Deal during his campaign. During that time, he got to travel to Canada, Israel, China, Japan and Korea. 

“My most valuable lesson during my career was when I was in the small town called Madison, Georgia. I was just in training to become a trooper and I’m not sure if the officer I was with was trying to impress me or what, but there was this African male who was just trying to make a living hauling wood and he wrote him a ticket. Still to this day I don’t understand why that man got a ticket and that one will forever stick with me,” said the Georgia native.

Andrews made life-long connections with people throughout his career. Still to this day he catches up with Gov. Deal and his wife Sandra. The most touching connections he made throughout his lifetime were the families of loved ones that has passed away in a crash scene he had to attended. 

“ This may seem a little weird, but the most rewarding and most joy I got out of my job was working fatal crashes and then sitting down to talk to the family and friends listening to all the stories about the loved one who had just passed,” said Andrews.

Getting to Know Maria Allocco

My name is Maria Allocco and I am 18 years old. I was raised in Nashville, Tennesse but then recently moved to Knoxville, TN at the beginning of my Junior year of high school. However, I was adopted in Bucharest, Romania at the age of two. My brother was also adopted from Romania, but at the age of four from a difffernt orphangae; my brother is now 23. I grew up with my so called parents now and they have been married for 27 years.

Throughout the move from living in Nashville to Knoxville I have attended 3 different schools, not including College. I first went to a private Catholic school kindergarden through sixth grade. Next, I attended Watertown Middle School for 2 years. After middle school, I went to Watertown High school for the first two years. At the beginning of my Junior year my family was moving to Knoxville, that is when I attended my last two years of High School at Maryville High.

Throughout the years, sports have always played a big role in my life. Starting off at a young age watching my brother play basketball, football, and baseball I always enjoyed the action. At one point I was the water girl for his middle school football team. Growing up I also remember attending The University of Tennessee’s sporting events. I went to countless games of the Lady Vols basketball team, because we have season tickets. We also attended softball games and football games. Watching my brother play before I was able to and watching all the wonderful athletes in college it has influenced me to be a sports girl. I have tried to play every sport known, including soccer, volleyball, tennis, basketball, softball, gymnastics, swimming and track.

Though sports have always impacted my life in a postive way, they have also done so in a negative way. I have torn both ACLs, MCLs, and meniscus’ in both my knees. My first injury happened on December 5th, 2015, six games into the season. My second injury happened on December 6th, 2017 once again only six games into the season. At some point it becomes a mental game you would think! I have broken both my arms for a combined of 7 times, and have had a broken bone in both of my ankles.

To wrap things up, what most people do not know about me is that I have a heart condition and there’s really no specific name for it. When I was younger, my heart would start racing when I would be laying down. I went to the doctor and was put on a heart monitor and they determined I had a heart murmur. However, now it no longer beats fast BUT, when I eat starchy foods such as rice, and any sort of potaoes it takes a while to go down and then I get a sharp pain in my heart and there’s no cure for it.